Hi! New here. Heres the last D&D game I played.

Started by Kevin Vito, January 12, 2008, 12:56:10 AM

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5 dragons= CR ??? depending on age... so you need to decide how powerful the dragons are. Epic levels could probably handle this kind of thing. If you want to play that long to get there that is. Of course, you could just start everyone out at level 21 or whatever, but then princesses in castles won't seem like much of a challenge. Maybe you could do it the way Dragon Lance did and have the characters be present at a major battle where there are five dragons and they are major players, or maybe, do a gauntlet where the dragons aren't all at once but rapid succession (which would be only slightly easier, considering that D&D strictly uses daily resources). I know its' not out tell may, and it may be pretty expensive, but fourth edition seems to be promising in that these kinds of large scale encounters will be a lot more feasible...


If you're asking for backstories, I think you should be upfront in what they have to tap into.  Tell them to imagine "this" as the picture of the front of the module (the coolest scene, your big fight at end) and "this" as the blurb on back, and then design backstories etc. that tap into "this".  Then elaborate and weave to create details responsive to their backstories and characters (e.g., if someone picks a dwarf, make sure there are foes of the types dwarves get bonus against).

Will the other players be up for gamist play - lots of the activity narrated in first post doesn't seem to be of a sort a D&D ruleset offers resolutions for, provides meaningful feedback on, if the players understood D&D they understood they weren't getting gold, XP, items for that, so what were they "getting out of, looking for" with those activities?

Have to say, I was amazed reading the post about DM handing the character both the facts of the backstory and what that meant for the PC's psychology ~ unless the Player had invited the GM's input etc. that's across a line even for most highly GM-lead D&D.

On the "testing only certain stats", In D&D, as a DM, you need to look at encounters and see to it that different skills, abilities, saving throw types are tested.  Distribution of threats and tests across range of what's on PC sheets is required to test character design and reward different choices.  For example, in a dragon heavy scenario Reflex saves will be called on often, in 3.0/3.5 Evasion will be a great boon.  To even that up, you need NPC spells, traps or other monsters that are Will and Fort saves.

If using standard EL/CR calculations remember dragons are intentionally supposed to be weighted at the high level of their CR.  A CR 15 dragon is supposed to be "a tough 15" if the designers did their job properly.


Kevin Vito

Well, for that final battle I was thinking I could give the players armies. I'm not sure how to handle that rules-wise (maybe 4th will have something), but if they have the combined might of the princess's kingdom and The Dark Lord's fiendish forces, plus some airships, I think it could be pulled off without having to get to 'epic levels'.

As for that backstory, I was thinking I could do some kind of 'choose your character' type thing where I give the players a few roles to choose from and fill in some really basic details, but the players get to fill in the specific details. For example, The Dark Lord. I know Richard is going to want to play as that guy. I'm thinking though that I can give him the basic details: Dark Lord, ruled a fiendish empire, got double-crossed and imprisoned in an urn, but I leave it to Rich to answer the following questions:
How did The Dark Lord become The Dark Lord in the first place?
Why is he so dark all the time?
What does he look like?
Is The Dark Lord human or something else? What are his classes?
Does The Dark Lord even have a name?

I know Megan is probably going to want to be the princess, because she is always some kind of princess. I'll leave it up to her to decide what she is the princess of (what is her kingdom like? Is she human?) and I'll leave it to her to decide why she was kidnapped (let her figure out all the ancient prophecies and such).

Eric is the one least concerned with storyline. I think he would probably be okay being The Dark Lord's last loyal warrior as long as he gets to kill things. I'd like for him to be some kind of monster so I think I'll just hand him the Monster Manual and say "anything within reason". Why does he still serve The Dark Lord? How did he joing the dark legion? Why?

Most importantly, I only have the beginning and the end planned out. The middle of the story will be up to the players.

Selene Tan

Quote from: chronoplasm on January 21, 2008, 06:46:48 AM
...Before that though, you have to fight his five children: a red dragon, a blue dragon, a green dragon, a black dragon, and a white dragon... all five at the same time.
The question is, even with the higher power level of a gestalt game, how do I get the players to the point where they can do this? Would a battle of this scale be possible for three players?

It's always possible if the characters are high enough level compared to the encounter level.

You might benefit from doing some "calibration encounters" with your players, though. Challenge Ratings are calculated for balanced parties of 4, and you'll have three players but gestalt classes. It will be helpful to run some other encounters to figure out whether you need to make mental adjustments when selecting encounter levels to get the desired difficulty level. (The d20 Encounter Calculator can give you some idea, but it assumes regular classes instead of gestalt.)

If the five dragons are all wyrmlings (the youngest/easiest age group), the encounter will be about CR 8, meaning a party with average level 8 will be able to take it out. So if you start the party at level 1, it'll be a while before they can handle the five dragons at once, but you certainly don't have to wait for epic level (20+) for that kind of encounter. (One of the nice things about D&D is that there are dragons for pretty much any level range.)

Regarding the backstory, definitely pitch it to the other players first. If they're only a little bit interested, find out what changes would make it really interesting for them. If they're not interested at all, it's best to scrap it, and ask them what they really want.
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Callan S.

Hi Chrono,
QuoteMost importantly, I only have the beginning and the end planned out. The middle of the story will be up to the players.
Who advocates doing it this way - with you dedicing the end and players deciding the middle. What texts or people have you talked to who said 'Yeah, that's great!'?

Kevin Vito

Hmmm... well I had an idea for how I would like it to end and I thought maybe the players would get a kick out of it (better than having no end at all), but I see what you mean. Players should have more of a say in how they want things to end.
Maybe I could use my idea as an overall guideline but plenty of other things in there in case players want to go in a different path.
Any suggestions Callan?

Callan S.

Whoa, I never said 'players should have more of a say in how they want things to end'. I just asked what was encouraging you to decide the end. Is that what you want to do? That's cool - or is there something else you want to do? It's not a trick question - if you want to stick with deciding the ending that's cool. I think what you'd find fun to do will give us the clues we need.


I have seen quite a few texts advocate having an ending in mind, although I would be hard pressed to cite any actual names.  Dragon magazine is popping into my head though.

As opposed to "wander about and hope something interesting just happens", it seems an improvement to me.  It provides a sense of purpose to immediate improvisation, in effect aids scene-framing decisions, permits the establishment of villains in good time and good order.  It can certainly work; the introductory Con-X game with FBI characters of which I gave an AP account some time ago was aimed at delivering the players to a particular point in a particular sequence, where they would witness an actual UFO for the first time; that worked out fine.  In my experience (which is clearly not universal), it is always better to have an ending in mind than not.  This is why existing ideas about R-maps and bangs just don't work for me.

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci


I think the difference is between a default "having an ending in mind", and for that matter "having in mind what next would happen in players flail around and don't have answers to the 'what next' query" and an unbending "having in mind the only ending that will be permitted to emerge" and "guiding to that despite player choices" (= railroading).

For me, for example, since player action must matter, the default ending is "it all goes down in flames and here is how, according to the plan of the opposition carried off without effective interference", and then play determines if things move off that outcome as players interefere and/or pursue their own objective.  The key is to have an active opposition with "something it wants" that players are conflicting with or that doesn't want players getting their goal, as opposed to "an opposition minding its own business there in its tomb that players have to have a reason to roust".

I see relationship maps, conflicts etc. as the guide for the improvising responses to players when they interfere with the default progression of events.  And bangs something to "complicate" (make more fun) the player's lives and throw at them if play lags.

E.G., my understanding that the Flamewardens are helping the Masters of Leng only for cash (not really caring at all about the Masters' goals) and under terms of a contract, helps me decide what a Flamewarden prisoner, who survived a Masters attack on the PCs, tells players when questioned and hints to the players that they can neutralize the Flamewardens with money instead of fighting them if they so choose.

Kevin Vito

I just really want for the story to end in some kind of huge epic battle against Void and his dragon followers. How the players get to that point and how they prepare for that final show down is completely up to them. Actually, I wouldn't even say thats the ending. The ending will depend on the results of the battle I'd say. I'd kind of like for the players to win the battle though, but I don't want to make it easy on them to insure that they will.