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Trystane_Insane
2010-11-29, 08:52 PM
Hey all, I'm having a spot of bother with my fledgling group of DnDers. We all are reletively new to DnD (I'm the only one who's played any sessions), but are enthusiastic about the opportunity. I'm DMing (4e, because those are the books I own already :P ), and my players have a... rather interesting group of characters. We've got...
-a female Dwarven Cleric, probably LG
-a male Eladrin Wizard, NG
-a Female Dark Elf (a la Dalamar of Shadow Lance fame) Rogue, pretending to be CN (really NE, lying about motives because of the Good-heavy party)
-a male Dragonborn Paladin, C-something (he joined last minute, we needed a defender, he physically can't be Lawful... Need to find a Chaotic deity for him)
-a female Elf Ranger, CG (I'm houseruling all alignments are allowed)

The only trouble is, I imagined the world they're in to be Human-heavy, and the module I'm using (Keep On The Shadowfell) is set in a mainly Human town, aside from the occasional Elf and Dwarf. I would've liked to exclude Dragonborn from the world altogether, but I don't feel I can say no to any player when I don't really know what I'm doing.

I lied, that isn't the only trouble. The way I see it, their characters wouldn't normally have anything to do with each other (Dark Elf vs Elf, Dwarf vs Elves, etc), and I don't know how I'm going to get them all to Winterhaven and have them work together. I'm leaning towards each of them responding to a Wanted ad at different times and signing up for the job (of clearing Kobolds off the roads, flipping the module around a bit) without knowing who they'll be working with. Does this sound like a reasonable fix?

(Last issue, I promise.) Like I said, the town of Winterhaven is mainly Human, filled with people who rarely leave the city walls. How will they react to the various characters, especially the Dragonborn, and especially when they're travelling together? Should I have the NPCs act differently to them, or suspend belief and play it as written for convenience's sake? Is there another solution?

Thanks for reading this far (I hope I'm not this long winded in-game!) I really want this group to flourish, which is why I'm asking for help on this forum, though I don't frequent it as often as I should. Any advice you veterans have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!

Joseph Silver
2010-11-29, 08:55 PM
Ask them to come up with a reason why they're traveling together. Perhaps they've known each other for years, or maybe they're students of an adventurer mentor. You don't have to do all of the work just because you're the DM; letting the players come up with their own stuff leads to less work for you and more satisfaction for them when you integrate their backgrounds into the game.

Trystane_Insane
2010-11-29, 08:59 PM
Hm. I've already asked for their backgrounds, but you're right. I'll put that on my list of "Things To Clear Up Before The First Session On Thursday." Thanks!

Tiki Snakes
2010-11-29, 09:07 PM
Elves and Dark Elves certainly can work together. Infact there is even an item set that gives bonuses to Elves and Dark Elves (And Eladrin?) doing just that.

Conversely, as far as I recall, Dwarf vs Elf has always been conspicuously absent in D&D, especially when compared to Tolkein or Warhammer. They shouldn't have a problem.

As for Dragonborn, well. If you don't want Dragonborn present in your setting, they aren't. That doesn't stop the player playing one, it just means she's a weird, exotic dragon-person. She could be cursed, she could be from a different plane, she could be the result of some weird magical experiment (like the Dragon-people in Dragonlance. I forget the name).

Npc's could react however appropriate, from outright terror to general stubborn awkwardness. I had a player running as a homebrewed lizardfolk, and the barkeep insisted he sleep in the stables. (His presence there was not a problem, as it's pretty much a no-horse town anyway!) I'd expect that the humans of the region would likely default to wanting to interact with the Dwarf, Elf and Eladrin, rather than the others, but given that we are talking adventurers here, probably would attempt to avoid appearing overly rude to them.

In a heavily human setting, a group of people like this actually make more sense than you might imagine. Whilst they roam individually, they are the target of every wanna-be-hero out there, looking to guy himself a 'monster' and make a name for himself. Only by banding together could such a group of 'Freaks and Weirdos' get any sense of brotherhood, safety or friendship outside of their homelands.
I'd suggest going this route, because it should stress to your players that they need each other. For fun, try making them come up with the details of what hilarious and/or epic adventure first caused them to team up. Get them to come up with, or encourage them to ad-libb about their shared and illustrious past.
Perhaps give out circumstancial bonuses (+2 or so) to skill checks when they relate the current problem to an old adventure that they completed together?

Trystane_Insane
2010-11-29, 09:16 PM
Ahh. That works out well. I'll see what background my Dragonborn character is conjuring (He promises it'll "be random as heck." Like I said, can't be Lawful), and go from there. I'm glad I can be excited rather than nervous about Thursday now!

(Also, does anyone know where I can procure a copy or five of the PHB for my players? One ain't gonna cut it for all of us. :\ )

AstralFire
2010-11-29, 09:19 PM
Ahh. That works out well. I'll see what background my Dragonborn character is conjuring (He promises it'll "be random as heck." Like I said, can't be Lawful), and go from there. I'm glad I can be excited rather than nervous about Thursday now!

(Also, does anyone know where I can procure a copy or five of the PHB for my players? One ain't gonna cut it for all of us. :\ )

http://product.half.ebay.com/Players-Handbook_W0QQprZ63114070QQtgZinfo

Probably the cheapest option. (Note: Have not done much research on this subject.)

Katana_Geldar
2010-11-29, 09:26 PM
Be prepared to go slow and go easy on them, it looks like they are totally new to 4e so be prepared for your fuirst encounter to be long and awkward.

DMG2 has a very good section about building connections between player characters, as well as a great part about cooperaticve worldbuilding.

Question: Are you using character builder? As the power cards specifically state what you need to roll and what to add.

Tiki Snakes
2010-11-29, 09:27 PM
http://product.half.ebay.com/Players-Handbook_W0QQprZ63114070QQtgZinfo

Probably the cheapest option. (Note: Have not done much research on this subject.)

Looks pretty damn cheap to me.

Worth noting, if you want it for checking rules in-play, or so on, it might be worth considering The Rules Compendium (http://www.amazon.com/Rules-Compendium-Essential-Dungeons-Dragons/dp/0786956216) instead. Compiled rules from all over the edition, very handy for in-game look-ups. Hardly 'essential', but far more useful for that purpose at least than the PHB.

Doomboy911
2010-11-29, 09:38 PM
One of the best ways to unite the people is to give them all someone to dislike. Perhaps some ruthless hunter went through their villages killing for boredom. That's significant reason for them to unite to take the sucker down. Bonus points if you give him a wall blade.

Gamer Girl
2010-11-29, 10:00 PM
1.Default D&D(much like Star Trek, Star Wars and such) is very human centric. When you get a generic town, it will always be a 99% human town. Unless it is especially a elven town or dwarf town.

I always like my world with more flavor and diversity. So the simply thing to do is to change races. Make the town more of a melting pot. And easy trick to simply make them what their name sounds like they should be Bok Ironboot should be a dwarf and Allesa GreenTree is an elf.

2.Sure normal people in a normal world would not have anything to do with each other. Of course, the characters are not normal, and don't live in a normal world. And even in the normal world you get strange companionship and friendships. Not every individual follows the 'race rules'.

And adventures are a special lot too. As an adventure, you accept that you might have to adventure with 'strange' folks. But it's the strange folk, or no one. So in the end you have to accept them, sort of. It's a lot like any 'elite' group. you will often have to work with people you don't like..as there is no one else. The classic one is something like an army squad, where you get country boy serving with inner city boy.

3.You can have them do backgrounds, and simply agree to adventure together. But tricks work. Have someone hire them...maybe even a wizard who says 'each of you is special and needed' or such.

4.You can do either or. First, if you spice up the all human town with other races, it's not such a big deal. But even if you keep it an all human town, most will simply ignore something like a dragonborn. Think like 2010. If Ving Rames or Michale Duncan Clark walked into a place, some people will raise eyebrows or look and maybe move away. But no one will run and get the pitch forks and torches.

But if you make race a big deal, try not to go too much overboard. Having the towns folk 'close' everything, run or even attack can just ruin the plot. It's fine to have a couple people not like say a dragonborn, maybe even an attack or two, but for every person to go 'die dragonborn!' is too much.

And there is the other side where people will be in awe. A 'dragonperson...wow'.

Tiki Snakes
2010-11-29, 10:07 PM
One of the best ways to unite the people is to give them all someone to dislike. Perhaps some ruthless hunter went through their villages killing for boredom. That's significant reason for them to unite to take the sucker down. Bonus points if you give him a wall blade.

It's certainly an option.
To tailor it slightly to the module I believe the OP mentioned he is running;


Several of their villages, settlements, or whatever is appropriate, could have been levelled by a vicious, mad goblin called 'Irontooth'. He seemed almost entirely focused on killing as many people as possible and to make matters worse, his goblins took the corpses of those they butchered.

Irontooth is of course a leading henchman of the boss of KotS, sent to overlook a subjugated tribe of kobolds by this point. The raids would have been literally to gather material for Kalarel to turn into undead to guard his base of operations. Kalarel is the one who actually orchestrated the attack, so you have a second layer of people-to-hate when they get done with the Goblin.

Actually, if you can target some of this specifically at the Dark Elf, it'll make her co-operating that much more likely, perhaps?

It's best not to over-do things like the above, though, as it can get a tiny bit contrived. If a couple of them come back with 'tragic backstory' angles though, it's definately something to consider.

Also I have no idea what a Wall Blade is.

Doomboy911
2010-11-29, 10:52 PM
A massive sword a little shorter than the average person and half their width you have to have a power attack and exotic weapon proficiency and a high strength score just to normally swing the dang thing.

Doomboy911
2010-11-29, 10:58 PM
If you intend to run with this campaign for a long while (to raise their levels alot like 17) I'm willing to let you use my build who is a wrecker, frenzied berserker, fighter, and barbarian and with all his gear doesn't break easily. Part of being a wrecker means wandering around dragging your big sword in the ground leaving a trail there's something for them to follow.

I ask if they're going to run with this for awhile because the only way to kill him would be to trap him wait for his frenzy to wear out poison him while he's fatigued, strip him of his gear and coup de grace him.

BG
2010-11-30, 03:22 AM
I don't feel I can say no to any player when I don't really know what I'm doing.

While the people here came up with some good ways to work around this, I do want to emphasize that when you're a new DM, you need to make sure you can work within your comfort zone.

Another way you can do it (which I frequently do because I don't like Dragonborn), is to just reflavor the class (usually dropping the breath weapon in exchange for something else). The world I played in for a while didn't have Dragonborn it had Aesir, who were big, semi-magic humans.

Also, if you need to give them someone to hate, I've found nothing works better than using the example set by 80s comedy movies.

Sure, you can have someone who slaughtered their villages, but that's in their backstories. The players themselves never interacted with those NPCs, so they don't have as strong an emotional connection. If you have them run into an elitist, snobby rival group of adventurers who mock them, though? That'll get them angry, especially if said rival group cheats them out of some money.

That's players for you. The parents who died in their backstory don't hold a candle to the 50 gold that got taken from them. Later, you can have a stronger BBEG to kill NPCs that they've interacted with and grown attached to, and then you'll get a stronger reaction.

kyoryu
2010-11-30, 02:48 PM
The only trouble is, I imagined the world they're in to be Human-heavy, and the module I'm using (Keep On The Shadowfell) is set in a mainly Human town, aside from the occasional Elf and Dwarf. I would've liked to exclude Dragonborn from the world altogether, but I don't feel I can say no to any player when I don't really know what I'm doing.


Actually, that's even a better time to say no. As a new DM, you should really only allow things in the game that you feel comfortable with running. There's a lot of rules, a lot of classes, and a lot of races. If there are things that you're not really sure how they'll impact the game, be up-front with your players, explain the situation, and ask them to choose something different. Remind them that this probably won't be the last game, and they'll probably make different characters later... so even if they can't be a Dragonborn now, they'll probably get a chance in the future.

The rules for any race basically say "if you have an xyz character, these are the rules for them." That doesn't mean that dragonborn exist in every game setting. Not all races exist in Dark Sun, for instance. As the DM, part of your responsibility is building the world you're playing in (even if in an established setting), and part of that is determining not only what is there, but what's *not* there.

If you really are against banning dragonborn, you've got three ways to deal with it:

1) They're unusual, and get all of the attention that goes with that, positive and negative. If you go this route, don't skimp on it.
2) They're not that unusual, just not common in this area.
3) The town isn't mostly human, it has a wider variety of races.

Any of these three options are workable, but they will have different impacts on the game and campaign.

Doomboy911
2010-12-01, 07:02 AM
Sure, you can have someone who slaughtered their villages, but that's in their backstories. The players themselves never interacted with those NPCs, so they don't have as strong an emotional connection. If you have them run into an elitist, snobby rival group of adventurers who mock them, though? That'll get them angry, especially if said rival group cheats them out of some money.


Well my plan wasn't that he attacked random villages but that he was hitting any he came across including theirs. Maybe they were able to hold him off a bit to make him decide to leave and thus as the only who succesfully fought him band together in a attempt to kill him.

Cerlis
2010-12-01, 07:52 AM
Not sure where the game starts, but remember....(hopefully) Innocent children can always defuse the situation. If there is a part where they enter the city for the first time, i was imagining a situations where teh guards are looking them over, talking amongst themselves ...when one of them gets hit in the head by a rubber ball.

"Hey Mister! Thats my ba--......WHOAH! Look at that!"

its a trope/cliche that a village feels better about strangers when they prove they can be friendly with kids.

----------

buuut. no plan survives contact with the enemy. so dont know what will happen.

Psyx
2010-12-01, 07:57 AM
Have kids laugh at them for looking funny.

And the old 'no, you can't stay in MY inn.' is perfectly viable.

Would you let a half-dragon stay in your inn? He might sneeze and burn it down.

And nobody would let a dark-elf sleep under the same roof. They are famous mostly for enslaving and torturing people.


EDIT: Typo

Amphetryon
2010-12-01, 08:07 AM
And nobody would let a dark-elf sleep under the same room. They are famous mostly for enslaving and torturing people rising up to throw off the oppression of Llolth with twin scimitars and a panther in typical CG fashion.FTFY. Also, "under the same room"? They can stay packed in my floorboards whenever they want to! :smallwink:

NPCs reacting in a strongly xenophobic way is fine; NPCs reacting in a strongly xenophobic way because my friend here has pointed ears or scaly skin would damage verisimilitude for me, given a world where elves and dwarves and goblins and orcs make up even a minority part of the population of towns, let alone a world where mind flayers and beholders and dragons and gods provably exist.

MightyTim
2010-12-01, 08:38 AM
If you're going to be taking everyone's advice here and having NPCs treat the PCs differently based on their race, just make sure your PCs are aware that playing an unusual race is going to come with social implications. For instance, if your Dark Elf character is planning to try to lie and or trick their way out of situations, they're going to be disappointed when NPCs won't even talk to her, and are immediately suspicious of all of her actions.

Psyx
2010-12-01, 09:13 AM
NPCs reacting in a strongly xenophobic way because my friend here has pointed ears or scaly skin would damage verisimilitude for me

It would reinforce it for me, given that people with black skin and pointy ears are generally famous for being scum in the game world, and orcs are likewise famous for being violent psychopaths, whereas goblins are more sneaky, chicken-stealing, child-eating types. There may be a minority of such people living in civilised areas, but I imagine that encountering racial hatred is an everyday event for them.

Unlike our own world, racial hatred in fantasy worlds is VERY well founded, given the typical alignments of races and their past behaviours. It utterly destroys my suspension of disbelief when a party consisting of orcs, dark elves and the like gets to walk through the city gates fully armed, or doesn't encounter a lynch mob several hundred strong on their first night in town.

Tiki Snakes
2010-12-01, 09:20 AM
Not sure where the game starts, but remember....(hopefully) Innocent children can always defuse the situation. If there is a part where they enter the city for the first time, i was imagining a situations where teh guards are looking them over, talking amongst themselves ...when one of them gets hit in the head by a rubber ball.

"Hey Mister! Thats my ba--......WHOAH! Look at that!"

its a trope/cliche that a village feels better about strangers when they prove they can be friendly with kids.

----------

buuut. no plan survives contact with the enemy. so dont know what will happen.

The lizardman I mentioned earlier was teased by a small village boy in a not-disimilar manner.

Then the lizardman bit his face off.

Psyx
2010-12-01, 10:14 AM
Then the villagers strung him up?

HunterOfJello
2010-12-01, 10:18 AM
I don't see a single one of the situations presented in your first post as a problem. They all look like opportunities to encourage roleplaying and better background creation. These sorts of things will only enhance a game, not make it more difficult.

Tiki Snakes
2010-12-01, 10:55 AM
Then the villagers strung him up?

Luckily they were leaving town at the time.
By the time they got back, there were several people hanging from the gibbet treat outside the village, and they were greated by a violent riot.

Though there was several reasons for that in addition for the face-nomming.

Amphetryon
2010-12-01, 01:30 PM
Then the villagers strung him up?

Then the villagers all ran in fear from this strange, horrid monster that eats faces which is so strange and magical that there are only whispered stories of their existence from campfire tales from great grandfather...

Unless commoners coming up and behaving threateningly to monsters so odd as to inspire prejudice - after witnessing said monsters killing their friends and countrymen in one shot - is typical. Generally, I would presume most lynchings happen to people/monsters that aren't actively demonstrating their ability to defend themselves.