Genghis Con 2012 Recap

As I sit down to write this post Monday morning, I’m exhausted and happy for the past three-plus days I spent over the weekend at Genghis Con 2012. The Denver Gamers Association puts on two conventions each year: Genghis Con over Presidents’ Day weekend, and TactiCon over Labor Day weekend. I think they’re very smart in having each convention begin Thursday night and end Sunday evening, with Monday off for all of us to recover before we have to go back to our day jobs on Tuesday after the holiday.

Last TactiCon, I decided to be a Marathon GM and run games in all nine time slots (Thursday evening; Friday morning, afternoon and evening; Saturday morning, afternoon and evening, and finally Sunday morning and afternoon). For Genghis this year, I decided I wanted to run just three sessions (of games I’d written myself) and then play the rest of the time. I signed up for two specific games to play in – a Dresden Files game and a Hero System game based on Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. I wanted to keep my options open for the rest of the time.

I received an email a few weeks before the convention that the Dr. Horrible game was canceled. Oh well. Then I got an email two weeks ago letting me know that the person who was supposed to have been coordinating the D&D 4th Edition games at the convention (mainly Living Forgotten Realms) had gone incommunicado, and lots of games needed DMs. I was asked to help out.

So, I went from running three slots to running seven. Seven slots, seven different games. Two of them were Ashes of Athas, and I knew next to nothing about Dark Sun. Two were paragon tier LFR games (one of which, thankfully, I had run before and so already had prepared in MapTool). A couple of weeks of frantic prep work followed, including taking last Thursday off work to get ready. And then away we go!


I got to the convention at the Red Lion Hotel around 6:00 PM to pick up my badge. The awesome RPG coordinator had arranged for me to get a refund for the sessions I had originally signed up to play in but was now running instead. You rock, Linda!

This was one of the two times in the convention when I was a player rather than a DM. I jumped into an LFR game that could be run for characters of levels 1-10, but the table has to agree on a four-level band. I really wanted to play Factotum, my beloved bard, who was fifth level. Unfortunately, there were a couple of other players who really wanted to play their 9th and 10th level characters. And thus I turned to Rhogar, my first-ever LFR character – a half-elf paladin of Ilmater. I hadn’t played him since Genghis Con 2011.

The adventure itself was set in Elturgard, and I should have known better. Rhogar’s last adventure was the Paladins’ Plague adventure in Elturgard, and I ended up having the least fun ever with that adventure. This adventure was somewhat similar, in that it was a very dark adventure with some no-win plot choices at the end. I left feeling victorious in the adventure, but kind of bummed out at the same time.


Friday was the day I was originally scheduled to run games, and I brought my projector rig on down to the convention. I was running the Staff of Suha trilogy (The Stolen Staff, Tallinn’s Tower and Descent Into Darkness). This was the second convention in a row where I’d run all three games, and I was excited to see that I had three players who would be involved in all three games and everyone else would be involved in two of the three. A fun twist in this particular series is that one of the players needed a fifth level character to play, and I offered to let him play Factotum the bard, which he totally ran with.

Things went pretty well in The Stolen Staff. I was happy that this party became the first to find the secret entrance to the orcs’ keep via the garbage pit, and the encounter down there was fun. It did take a long time to get to that point, though, so I ruled on the fly that the secret entrance let the party bypass most of the skill challenge through the stronghold. The fight in the orc temple was also cool, as this party was the first to let the orc shaman live more than a couple of rounds, which made the other orcs much more deadly. The fight against the orc leader in the end was only so-so; I still need to work on making him more interesting.

Tallinn’s Tower went smoothly enough, with the party eventually figuring out how the puzzle on the first floor worked, and then disabling the trap on the second floor very quickly, which made that fight much easier. The third floor got a little bit brutal, but the party whomped on the leader in time to prevent folks from turning to stone. Barely.

Descent Into Darkness went just okay, I’d say. The party solved the rune puzzle quickly, but not so quickly as to be trivial. They were a little bit tempted by the decoy sword but moved on before getting into too much trouble. They also took more of a negotiation approach with the halflings before Factotum decided to attack. That battle was more lethal than I intended it to be with the thieves; I need to tweak those guys. The climax fight against the beholder was a little anti-climactic, as the beholder got held in Bigby’s Icy Grasp and stayed there for three rounds. The party fought well, though, grabbed the Shield and got out of there, leaving the beholder alive (as most parties have done).

There was one player at the table who wasn’t having as much fun as the rest, and I tried and failed to get him more excited about the game. This was a bummer, as I like the guy, but he wasn’t having a great time. Oh well; I can’t blame anyone but myself, since I wrote the modules!


Saturday was Ashes of Athas day. I had prepped my two sessions a couple of days before the convention and had thoroughly read one of them, but I had to finish reading the second during the hour-long break between sessions. I got there, though!

The Ashes of Athas modules are definitely more role-play heavy than most LFR modules, and that demands the right sort of players (and a prepared DM, which I just barely was). Fortunately, I had an awesome table. They were really into Dark Sun and spent way more time in-character than I’ve ever experienced before in D&D. I could tell that they really saw the various NPCs as actual characters, not just names and stat blocks. I felt successful when I realized that they truly hated one NPC, grokked another’s focus on the bottom line (her quote about profits being down 18% became a recurring bit), felt sympathy toward another, etc. The combats were only so-so, but I don’t think anyone cared – they loved the world. They were actually possessive of me as their DM, too; when we were talking about the possibility of players having to get moved around to other tables in the afternoon, they insisted that they get to keep me. That’s a good feeling!

Unfortunately for them, I was not running the final part of the Ashes of Athas trilogy in the evening; instead, I was playing a Dresden Files game. I’ve heard lots of great stuff about the game and wanted try it out. As it turns out, the GM was actually running a game using the Dresden Files rules in a different setting. The abbreviation for the setting is UA, and I thought the GM said this stood for “unearthed arcana” but that doesn’t seem right. Anyway, it was a setting with an occult subculture, and our characters were insiders of that culture.

Impressively, we did world creation, character tweaking, and a full adventure in the course of a three-hour session! As a party, we established three groups in Denver that had secret occult plans:

  • A biker gang in Cheeseman Park that was seeking an item called The Devil Rose in order to summon the devil to serve them
  • A group of metaphysical book shop owners who were focused on cleaning up the Cherry Creek Reservoir (where occult groups would dump bodies) and wanted to find the Cagliostro Seal, which would allow them to unleash nature and destroy civilization
  • A group of LGBT activists who maintained Elitch Gardens amusement park as occult neutral ground. Led by RuPaul, they were seeking the Alchemical Eye, which would give them full knowledge of all goings-on in the city

And we’re off! My character managed to get himself firebombed when he tried to chat up a book shop owner to warn her about the biker gang, but he only sprained an ankle. I learned how the Fate system works, doing some role playing to earn fate points. Getting to play NPCs and establish in-world facts as being true was a very cool mechanic. I don’t think I’d want to play a “story game” like this all the time, but it would be a fun change of pace now and then. I will note, however, that you need a DYNAMITE GM in order to make this work. The GM has to be able to make up all kinds of stuff on the fly, and our GM definitely did not disappoint. He rocked.


For the final day of the convention, there were only two sessions, and I was running paragon-level LFR games for both of them. The first, CORE 2-2, is a game I had run before at Enchanted Grounds. I arrived just before the start time and discovered that the mount for my projector had popped off. I only needed a screwdriver to fix it, but I didn’t have one. Fortunately, one of my players was nice enough to go out to his car to get one, and the game went off without a hitch. That guy definitely was awarded a bonus point! (And writing this has reminded me to go put a screwdriver in my projector bag.)

My afternoon game had a great table of players, a number of whom I had DMed for at past conventions (in a couple of cases, with the same characters). This was NETH 3-3, and I have to say that this was WAY more fun than I expected it to be. I loved running this module. The players did some creative thinking during a skill challenge, and the combats were super-interesting and very well balanced. The party could have played at either level 12 or level 14, and they were ultimately happy they chose 12 (14 might have killed them).

My favorite moment of the convention came in this game, where a fighter decided he wanted to climb onto a table, make a running leap onto a bookshelf 10 feet away and then drop down the far side in order to attack an enemy. The jump was a masterful success, but since he wasn’t trained in Acrobatics, the fall down the far side of the shelf left him on his butt. And just to be a rat-bastard DM (to a player I know and like and whose character was plenty tough enough to take it), I ruled that the fall off the shelf involved the PC moving through a threatened square without shifting (falling from two squares up, next to a bad guy, down to the ground), which provoked an opportunity attack. We had some great laughs at this table, and it was good to end the convention on a high note.

After the sessions are done, the organizers always have an appreciation ceremony for the GMs, and I managed to pick up a free copy of Masks, a book of NPC ideas from Gnome Stew. Good stuff, and I can’t wait to use it!

And now I can stop my frantic convention prep work and relax. Ahhh!

-Michael the OnlineDM

WATE 2-4: Factotum the Bard is back on stage!

This past Thursday evening, I had the rare opportunity to play D&D as a player rather than a DM. My wife has been feeling unwell for a while, so I try to mostly stay home with her in the evenings, but on this particular night she was getting together with another friend. A new-to-me Living Forgotten Realms module was being run at the friendly local game store, Enchanted Grounds, so I headed on down for a game.

Spoilers ahead for WATE 2-4 Stage Misdirection

The particular adventure we were playing was set in Waterdeep, the hometown of my beloved bard Factotum. This was the first time I had gotten to play an adventure with Factotum in Waterdeep, and I was excited.

I learned that the adventure begins with the PCs having various jobs in an opera house. “Star of the show” wasn’t an option, so Factotum settled for a spot in the orchestra pit with his horn, while the rest of the party either served as bouncers or sat in the audience. I asked the DM if Factotum could be an understudy, and he was fine with it. Excellent!

Imagine my delight, then, when the opening scene of the adventure involved an opera where a man was about to duel his sweetheart’s father, and the man fell to the stage – apparently dead after drinking poisoned wine. The poisoned wine was not part of the show, and it was soon accompanied by an angry crowd being riled up by some thugs. While the rest of the party sprang into action fighting the thugs, Factotum did the natural thing for him:

He jumped on stage, picked up the fallen actor’s sword, and continued the faux sword fight with the actor playing the love interest’s father.

He feinted and twirled, finding the time to shout words of majesty to his ailing compatriots and to sing powerfully to push interlopers off the stage (Majestic Word and Staggering Note), but largely focused on entertaining the crowd.

Yes, this adventure was tailor-made for Factotum.

The rest of the evening was a fun investigative romp, ultimately culminating in a fight with other actors. Factotum attacked one man who hadn’t directly menaced anyone yet, simply because the man was a terrible actor – an unforgivable offense.

WATE 2-4 is an adventure that definitely benefits from having a bard in the party. I’m sure it could have been fun without one, but I was really glad I’d brought Factotum to the table. It’s an opportunity for his fame to grow!

TactiCon 2011 – LURU 2-4 Need to Know

LURU 2-4 Need to Know – Spoilers ahead

The final adventure I ran at TactiCon 2011 was LURU 2-4 Need to Know. I had a full table of six players, including my friend Nate, another couple of players who I knew from Enchanted Grounds, a player I knew from other convention games, and a couple whom I hadn’t met before.

I began by asking the players to introduce their characters to one another, and Nate led things off by doing so in-character. This set the tone nicely for the rest of the table, as all of the PCs came to life. All of them mentioned their race (although the changeling in the party explained that she claimed to be an eladrin, hinting that she wasn’t really), though most did NOT mention their class. Instead, they let this become clear from the way they behaved in battle. One introduced himself as an actor (later revealed to be a hybrid bard-warlock), one as just an adventurer (later revealed to be a rogue), one as bloodthirsty bug (a ranger) and one as a princess (a hybrid bard-warlord).

The princess in the party is my favorite PC I’ve seen so far in an LFR game. She rode around on a Tenser’s Floating Disk and made excellent use of Direct the Strike to boss people around and make them attack. It worked really well. She was also able to leverage her “royal status” to bluff her way into a guarded city along with some of her allies during the adventure.

The best part of this adventure was the opening combat encounter, which took place in an inn that was soon set on fire. The growing fire and the lava elementals that arose from it were a ton of fun.

The final encounter was less fun, as it involved a beholder in a pretty boring 10 square by 10 square room (with an attached sewer area). Every time a player started their turn, they were subject to an eye ray attack (unless they ran into the sewers). They couldn’t flank the beholder, nor could they take opportunity attacks against it when it used its eye rays.

It got frustrating, but having learned my lesson from an earlier adventure I started changing the beast up a little bit. I tried to cut way back on the most devastating control effects from the beholder – the sleep ray knocked out the fighter for several rounds, and the petrification ray took away at least two PCs’ entire turns. The adventure made it clear that you need to go easy on those during the beholder’s turn, which I did, but when it rolls a random ray at the beginning of a PC’s turn, the odds are good that a controlling power is going to come up. So, I switched to more damage and less control later in the combat, even on the random rays.

Ultimately, everyone had a good time, and using MapTool and the projector to project the spreading fire onto the map in the first encounter was a big hit. It was a good way to end an awesome TactiCon.

TactiCon 2011 – MyRealms adventures

MyRealms adventures – Spoilers follow

All day Friday at TactiCon 2011 was devoted to my MyRealms adventure trilogy: The Staff of Suha in the morning, Tallinn’s Tower in the afternoon, and Descent Into Darkness in the evening. I only had one player who played in all three adventures, but my tables were full throughout.

I feel confident in saying that these were a hit. I’m constantly tweaking my own adventures, and I was taking notes as I ran them, but they were all little things to tweak here and there – nothing that needed a complete reworking.

My favorite moment of the convention came in the final battle of Descent Into Darkness, which involves facing a beholder in a room that includes a river of magma. The party was doing their best to keep the beholder locked down, and at one point a rogue decided to jump onto the beholder’s back. He stayed aboard for four rounds.

In the first round, the beholder was stunned, so the rogue stabbed away.

In the second round, the beholder got up from prone and tried to shoot an eye ray at the rogue (tough to do when he’s on top of the beholder) and missed.

In the third round, the beholder flipped upside down and flew just over the surface of the magma, but the rogue made a great Athletics / Acrobatics check to scramble around the ball of eyes as it rotated and avoided the magma.

In the fourth round, the beholder had had enough of this nonsense, decided that it could handle the magma better than the fragile humanoid on its back, and dove into the river and back out. The beholder and the rogue both took 30 fire damage and ongoing 10 fire damage (save ends).

The rogue’s player asked me, “So what happens if that takes me below zero hit points?”

The whole table replied with “Oooooh….”

Yes, he fell unconscious while in the river of magma, which meant that he lost his grip and floated just below the surface. The beholder survived the bath, but the party ran out of options to rescue the rogue without killing themselves. Thus passed the short-lived rogue, may he rest in peace.

I’m not much of a killer DM, but PC do die at my table from time to time. In this particular case, it was worth it. I knew that was true Sunday evening when some players at a different game I was running said they had already heard that story about the beholder and the rogue and the magma river. When your players are telling stories about your games to their other friends at the convention, you’ve done something right! Well, unless they were saying, “This jerk of a DM killed my character…”

TactiCon 2011 – CORE 2-4 Lost on the Golden Way

CORE 2-4 Lost on the Golden Way – Spoilers Follow

I ran three sessions of CORE 2-4 Lost on the Golden Way at TactiCon 2011 – Thursday evening, Saturday morning and Sunday morning. My biggest worry was that there wouldn’t be enough players for the Sunday morning game, thus denying me the Iron Man achievement, but no worries there – I had a full table. Actually, the Thursday evening table was the only non-full table I ran all weekend (only four players). Saturday morning’s table actually had seven players!

I hadn’t run this adventure before TactiCon, but by the end I was quite a natural with it. It’s a fun little adventure, where the party has to track a missing caravan into the feywild, dealing with a thieving elf who accidentally got the caravan into trouble. They rescue the captive drivers and caravan workers from gnomes who were planning to deliver them as slaves to some eladrin – and then fight off the eladrin as they try to escape from the feywild.

The first table decided to take a different approach to the final encounter. Rather than dashing for the portal out of the feywild, they decided to literally circle the wagons and shelter in place. No problem – I adapted the existing maps I’d prepared in MapTool, and they fought from within the wagon circle.

The second table, with seven players, had four people who had never played LFR before. As my regular readers know, I LOVE introducing new people to D&D, so this was a great time for me. The highlight was when one player, having thrown his only (non-magical) dagger at a foe in an earlier round, decided to try to take out the enemy by springing off one standing stone to kick the bad guy off another stone. Good Athletics and Acrobatics led to success, with the PC standing atop the stone and the bad guy prone at its foot, taking decent falling damage, after which he was soon dispatched. Awesome.

The third table had my friend Nate as a player (yay!) as well as a father-son pair who had approached me on Thursday or Friday, admiring my projector setup and asking about the game. I told them that the Saturday morning and Sunday morning games would be ideal for new players, so they signed up!

This was a solid little adventure, and I could see using it as a good introductory adventure for new players in the future. Also, I found myself using character voices in this adventure – something I don’t usually do much of as a DM. The thieving elf Harelahur somehow developed his own voice, which I think made the players feel a bit sympathetic toward him (they all let him run away instead of turning him over to the authorities at the end). The cold eladrin leader’s voice was fun to do, too. I’m not usually a big “voices” guy, but I could see doing a little more here than I have in the past, if the character is right for it.

TactiCon 2011 – SPEC 3-2 Roots of Corruption – Dark Seeds

SPEC 3-2 Roots of Corruption – Dark Seeds – Spoilers follow

I’ve already written extensively about my experience running this adventure at TactiCon. In a nutshell, it was a mostly-fun paragon tier adventure that my party decided to take on at a high challenge level. This came back to bite them in the final encounter against a hydra, which they eventually had to retreat from. This meant that they received a negative story award, which left them with a lousy feeling about the game. And it led to my only non-perfect DM evaluation scores of the convention (two people gave me a 9 out of 10).

I did learn later that the hydra’s attacks and defenses and damage should not have been scaled upward by 1 according to the adventure, so I made a mistake there (but the boss monster in the other adventure branch does have instructions to adjust his attacks and defenses and damage, so it was an understandable confusion on my part). And ultimately I should have changed whatever seemed unfun to me as we went along at the table (a lesson I took to heart in the last game I ran a the convention).

I guess I’ll have to shoot for perfect scores next time instead. 🙂

TactiCon 2011 is in the books

And on the fifth day, OnlineDM rested.

TactiCon 2011 started Thursday evening at 6:00 and wrapped up Sunday evening at 6:00. 72 hours from open to close for me (plus a little extra time at the end for the DM appreciation ceremony). I spent 36 of those hours at the game table, running games.

And I had a blast!

I got some dubious looks when I said I wanted to Iron Man the con (running games the whole time), but I can honestly say that I came out of it feeling energized, not exhausted. I did run a little short on sleep over the course of the convention (I had a 30 minute drive each way, so that cut into my sleep time a bit), and I’ll admit that I feel asleep at 9:00 PM last night and slept until 8:00 this morning, but I wasn’t getting headaches or feeling drained or anything like that.

Ultimately, TactiCon was a lot of fun. I was running games at tables in more public areas for most of this convention (in the past I’ve often been in individual hotel rooms), which meant that a lot more people got to see my MapTool / projector setup in action. It was a great feeling to have people stop by to say how cool they thought it was, or to ask questions about how they could build something similar themselves. Some of them even brought friends back later to show my setup off to them.

I’m looking forward to the next convention!

Individual game recaps

I’ve decided to break my detailed recaps into separate posts, rather than putting it all in one massive post. The links to those posts are below.

Lost on the Golden Way (Thursday evening, Saturday morning, Sunday morning)

MyRealms adventures (all day Friday)

Roots of Corruption – Dark Seeds (Saturday afternoon and evening)

Need to Know (Sunday afternoon)

Annoyed at SPEC 3-2 Roots of Corruption – Dark Seeds

I’m most of the way through my attempt to Iron Man TactiCon (I’m running nine slots – 36 hours of games over a 72-hour period). I’ve had a lot of fun, and I’m especially pleased that the adventures I wrote myself were well-received on Friday.

This afternoon and evening (Saturday) I ran a two-slot game of SPEC 3-2 Roots of Corruption – Dark Seeds. This is a paragon-level adventure, and I ran it with a party of mostly 11th level characters and a couple of 13th level characters. They chose to run it at level 14 (so yes, they opted for extra challenge).

It was a fun and challenging adventure for the first four hours, and when we came back from our dinner break we went into the last encounter.

It was silly-hard. Spoilers follow.

In the particular path my party chose, the adventurers have to fight against a hydra and two spore demons at the end. The spore demons were mildly annoying, but not much of a real threat. The hydra was insane.

It can’t be flanked, much to the frustration of the two rogues in the party.

It makes ranged attacks without provoking attacks of opportunity.

It has threatening reach in a 2-square radius (on a Huge creature).

It gets two free attacks against any PC that ends its turn within 2 squares.

Now, the PCs had spent a lot of resources in the next-to-last encounter, and only two of the six of them had action points for the last battle. There weren’t too many daily powers left (though there definitely were some).

The party had a really hard time with this battle, and they eventually retreated and declared defeat.

My annoyance comes in that, by running the adventure as written, I made the players have a less-good time than they otherwise would have. The final battle ended in defeat, and the party got a negative story award because of it (it makes them more vulnerable to diseases in the future). It was pretty miserable at the end.

And I have to admit that part of my annoyance is that two of the six players docked me a point on the GM evaluation sheet for the question, “How much fun did you have?” I still got great scores, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care about the awesome possibility of getting perfect scores while Iron Manning the con. I really wanted that, and I failed.

Ultimately, this is on me. When the adventure as written has unfun things happening, I should deviate. I should follow my own judgment, and I didn’t. I should have had the hydra spread his attacks around more, rather than focus on one PC until it drops as the adventure says it should do. I could have changed things so that the hydra’s ranged attacks at least provoked opportunity attacks, or made it so that it only got a single bite attack against PCs that end their turns near it.

But I didn’t make any of those changes, and my players had less than optimal fun because of it. This doesn’t mean that every fight has to be a victory for the party, but if something feels unfair and I have the ability to change it, I should change it! I didn’t, and my players had less fun because of it.

Lesson learned. If something seems unfun, change it.

TactiCon 2011 approaches!

I live in the Denver area. The Denver Gamers Association hosts two gaming conventions each year. The bigger one is Genghis Con, held over Presidents’ Day weekend in the winter. TactiCon is held over Labor Day weekend in late summer. This means that it’s time for TactiCon 2011!

My first gaming convention ever was TactiCon 2010, where I ended up running three Living Forgotten Realms adventures and playing in six others. I had a blast. When Genghis Con 2011 rolled around, I once again ran some adventures (one of which I had written myself), played in a few LFR games, and tried my hand at GURPS, Savage Worlds and Call of Cthulhu.

I’ve had so much fun running games at these conventions that I decided I wanted to try to Iron Man TactiCon 2011. I’m running games in all nine slots. That’s 36 hours of DMing over the course of three days. 12 hours a day. Wow.

I’m happy to say that I’m mostly ready. I have completely finished preparing the adventures for eight of the nine slots already in MapTool (for use with my projector setup), and I’m part of the way done with the ninth (I should finish this afternoon). This will leave me with time to polish the three adventures I’m running that I’ve written myself, get props and handouts together, get pre-generated characters on hand, re-read each adventure, etc. I’m taking Thursday off work (even though the convention doesn’t start until the evening), so I’ll have one more full day to do some prep work before the point of no return.

For those of you who will actually be at TactiCon and would like to play at my table, here is the schedule of the games I’m running (all of them D&D 4th Edition Living Forgotten Realms):

  • Thursday evening: CORE 2-4 Lost on the Golden Way
  • Friday morning: MYRE 3-1 The Staff of Suha (written by me)
  • Friday afternoon: MYRE 3-1 Tallinn’s Tower (written by me)
  • Friday evening: MYRE 3-1 Descent Into Darkness (written by me)
  • Saturday morning: CORE 2-4 Lost on the Golden Way
  • Saturday afternoon and evening: SPEC 3-2 Roots of Corruption – Dark Seeds (two slots)
  • Sunday morning: CORE 2-4 Lost on the Golden Way
  • Sunday afternoon: LURU 2-4 Need to Know

I’ve run the three MYRE adventures before (obviously) as well as the two-slot SPEC event. I’m done prepping CORE 2-4, and I’m working on LURU 2-4 today.

Am I nuts? Maybe, but I think I’m going to have fun! I’ll be exhausted afterward, but that’s why I’ll have Monday to recuperate (Labor Day).

SPEC 3-2 Roots of Corruption – Dark Seeds – MapTool file

I felt like I had to share this MapTool file simply because of the sheer insane amount of work I had to put into it.

I agreed to run a “special” Living Forgotten Realms game at my local store today for a charity benefit event. The adventure is SPEC 3-2 Roots of Corruption – Dark Seeds. A normal LFR game runs in four hours; this one was scheduled for six, plus an hour break for dinner (4:00 PM to 11:00 PM).

When I first saw the adventure I almost backed out due to the huge amount of prep work I would have to do in MapTool before I could run it with my projector setup. The adventure is cool in that it lets the players have a meaningful choice. Early in the adventure they can choose between two totally different paths. The encounters for each path are completely unrelated to one another, and you could get a legitimately different play experience if you were to repeat the adventure and go in the other direction.

Unfortunately, this means that, as the DM, I needed to prepare a whopping TEN different encounters that the PCs could go through. And half of that effort is going to be wasted on any given play-through, since the party can only take one path.

I decided to use the map images provided in the adventure PDF this time. I had to do the work to erase the markings for monster starting positions and PC starting positions, but I’m getting fairly adept at that. Then I had to create tokens for each monster.

Making matters more complicated is the fact that this is a season 3 adventure for LFR, which means it can be run at any of five different adventure levels – 12, 14, 16, 18, 20. In most cases the adventure uses the same monsters throughout (just leveling them up or down), but there are a few battles where the monsters for level 12-14 are different from the monsters for levels 16-20, for instance. And there’s almost no instances where a monster is used in more than one fight, so I had to create a crapload of unique tokens.

The work is done and the adventure is now over. If anyone out there ever runs this adventure in MapTool, you’re welcome. I’ve done the work for you.

Note that this campaign file was created in version 1.3.b66 of MapTool.

Download the PDF of the adventure here.

Download the MapTool file here.