View Full Version : For my next session...

2008-04-16, 02:26 PM
(I noticed there is another thread about "next session" stuff, but these are unrelated and coincidental. :smallsmile:)

It's a Dawnforge Campaign, and it'd written to myself so I can use it as notes. So, without further thinkamajinks, here's what I'm planning to do to my group this Friday:
Once the players get to Ironwall, they’ll walk the streets a bit. Once they finish whatever business they may have, they begin noticing signs.
“Come! Try your luck against the Impenetrable Fortress! Unseen Wonders and Prizes Galore!” The signs are very brightly painted, friendly and flamboyant images magically dancing around the background: Various pixies and sprites, as well as nursery rhyme characters and other fantastic creatures.
When the characters get to the place, they see a great rundown building. The man at the door is a frail looking gnome, wearing robes depicting the same delicate and wonderful images from the signs they followed. “Well Met and Welcome, Blessed Souls, to the land of fun and games! The Impenetrable Fortress is just the place to test your skill for prizes upon prizes! Would you enter? It’s free of charge to anyone brave enough to step through the great, gilded doors.”
He gestures to the door of the building, which seems considerably larger and golder than it was when the characters first noticed it. The doors open and two beautiful young women step into the door way, inviting them in. Looking into the building, through the door. There are people walking around, playing various games with each other, and children rushing about and after each other. They can see a game of tag ensuing amongst some young ones, as well as a group of adults circling some attraction near a side wall. There is a great round counter in the center of the great room with more attractive women sitting inside. Some are serving drinks, others are helping people fill out paperwork.

After they sign up for the fortress, the players are sent into a room, along with other people from adults to children, all excited and laughing. The room goes dark. Suddenly, colored lights zoom around over head leaving streaks in the darkness, and a very uninterested man’s voice echoes through the room, “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Impenetrable Fortress. Please, no food or drink inside the fortress. (The players feel a slight tingle about them after this.) The Impenetrable Fortress is not responsible for any loss that may occur, be it coins, items, or limbs. Please be safe while inside The Fortress. And, Enjoy.”

There is a click and a door opens, flooding the room with light. After a few blinks, the players are able to look around the room. They are alone. There are no other doors, secret or otherwise.
Before them is another room, with a great wall and ropes hanging down the front and a platform on the top. There is a path to the wall, and on each side of the path is crystal clear pools of water, which go down about 15 feet, and connect by way of a small tunnel, making the path a sort of bridge. If a player tries to swim down, they will find a grappling hook and 100 feet of Silk Rope.
When the first player grabs a rope, their hand passes through it. The next rope crumbles into ash. The next, retracts itself very quickly (DC10 reflex or take 1 point damage from rope-burn). The fourth, and final rope, does nothing but act as a normal rope, and when tugged there is a loud click and the sound of rushing water. The pools on the side of the room begin rising and the after a round the top of the bridge is beginning to get wet.
(DC 5 to move at quarter-speed, DC 10 to move at half. The water should scare the players, but if they fall, it saves them from damage, and they need only start climbing again.)
In the next room, there are platforms of varying heights and a key hanging from a thin string dangling over highest platform. A character must make 6 consecutive, successful jump checks. Each platform is roughly twenty feet across. The player(s) must make a running jump DC 5 jump (DC 10 without running). When the character reaches one side of the platform and prepares to run, the platform starts to tilt and the player must run and jump then or risk falling down with the platform. The platforms are connected to chains that pull them back up when they tip over. If a character should fail a jump check and fall, they fall until 20 ft from ground feather fall 10 ft, and then fall the last 10 ft. Causing an effective d6 of damage.
When a character finally grabs the key, all the platforms lower to the ground, rapidly, leaving the character hanging in the air. Luckily, after falling 10 ft, the key activates Feather Fall, and the character is not injured.

Then next and final room is a giant chess board. There is a door on the far end. When they step onto the checkerboard, there is another click. The chess pieces that were on their side disappear. Pawns on the far side turn into kobolds, and the other pieces on the other side meld together to block off the doorway.
The squares on the checkerboard are enchanted to teleport creatures around. The colored tiles alternate each round, moving their contents 1d6 squares in a random direction. (Players will roll a d8 at the beginning of their turn to determine their direction of travel. Hitting a wall bounces the character in (new d8) direction until all squares have been traveled. Hitting the same wall twice causes the player to stop in whatever square they occupy.) After being teleported, the players may act normally.
Battle is 8 kobolds. After each is defeated, there is a 65% chance that another will take its place.

When they finally beat that room, the wall disappears. When they walk through the door, they are surrounded by dense jungle foliage. There is a sign floating 30 ft away that reads “Winner’s sign here!” When all the players have signed, the voice from before comes back, though much more interested this time: “Congratulations on beating the Impenetrable Fortress! Here are your prizes.”

Prizes include a +1 shortsword, a couple augment crystals (least and lesser), and a large chest containing a chest for each player, and an extra chest. Each of the player chests have 500gp in them, and the last chest has a note:

“Your grand prize: An all expense paid, one-way vacation to the Tamerland. Enjoy.”

(And, yeah, I totally ganked the teleporting floor tiles from a thread here. If it was your idea, take credit, cause I can't remember.)

Little bit of background: they started on the main continent, basically just walking around, expecting me to drop adventures in their lap. So, I'm gonna drop them in a mostly unexplored continent and let them fight for their survival...which none of them have ranks in. :smallbiggrin: My players will be level 3, by the end of the above session.

My problem is thus: I'm not sure where to go from here. I know my players will love this session, but, I'm not sure where to go after that. I'm sure they'll eventually wanna kill the person who teleported them here. But, they'll have to get back first. So, I imagine a bunch of Jungle crawling, followed by tribal negotiations (Lizardfolk are the "intelligent" race on this continent, and fairly peaceful, if not barabaric.), then maybe a ruins crawl and then a sea adventure to take them back.

Please, O Great Playground Brothers and Sisters, help me cover the bones of this skeleton (and fix and broken bones that may be there already). Help me trick my players into thinking I'm a good DM.:smallbiggrin:

2008-04-16, 06:30 PM
Haha, a platform puzzle, that's awesome. It's like Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Transporting them way out of their element can be fun. The best sorts of survival adventures in those situations are ones where they have a major ordeal out of something they usually take for granted. What they eat, where they sleep, where they get supplies like rope, all of it gets thrown to the wolves. Just imagine the fun of them trying to find somewhere to take a bath!

Best to go easy on them a little bit though, considering they're still fairly low level and you're dropping them in what is effectively a continent-sized dungeon. There's no going back to town to rest and heal, they've got an entire jungle to cross before they can even begin to think about things like where they're gonna find a boat.

2008-04-17, 01:36 AM
it does seem a bit railroaded to me, though. There doesn't seem any way to avoid the nasty situation of being teleported. What if they don't enter? Is there any way out of the fortress should they want to? What's the whole reason for the teleportation?

Maybe you have a bunch of players that just don't mind. do you reckon they want to return to their homeland? Maybe get back to the nasty gnome that put them in this situation? It could be an evil Satyr or something is putting them through ordeals just for the fun of it. He might be using a scrying mirror as a plasma screen :) You could have him visit now and then, I bet your players will start coming up with plans to get back at him. the evil dude or dudess will reward them lovely gadgets, just to see what they come up with now to do with it. He may be teleporting them around all the time, making the players really wary about tiles and doors...

Meanwhile you could have them meet weird societies, eat a formal dinner with chopsticks (dex checks or be humiliated) and have the foreign ugly princess develop a love interest in the fighter. They can find weird gems, keys or scrolls, dicover treasure maps, fight the uprising troll resistance, defeat a den of graverobbers...

Waht level are your chars? edit: Oh sorry, level 3. Skip the trolls then :P

2008-04-17, 08:58 AM
Wow, I appreciate the responses. I honestly thought people would read it, but get bored because it's too long.
Something I never put into the original writing of the session, when the party is waiting in the prep room, they feel the tingle after the "No food or drink" part, I intend for them to be stripped of any trail rations and water. Is that too harsh? One of the players is the type that won't buy equipment that's useful in any situation, but for some reason always has "Sandwich Stuff" on her character sheet...even if they've been traveling for weeks, "Sandwich Stuff" is still around. :smallconfused:

Do you think I should maybe throw in a little more conflict in the teleporting room? I though about having certain tiles add special properties to whoever ends their move action on one, like Healing 1d4, or DR/bludgeoning, or maybe adding 1d4 fire damage to attacks while on that square. Then, the players may be scrambling to get back to some certain helpful tile, while going berserk to kill the kobold that now has a flaming short sword. How many of these tiles should there be? (Remember that I'm using a chess board, so there could be a lot of them, but for book keeping purposes, there shouldn't be too many.) Any other ideas about types of tiles?

As for being able to avoid the teleportation, I had thought about allowing them to turn around and go back. But, my group:
A) would never turn around, unless their almost dead, while their treasure is still unclaimed.
B) is the type of group where one person would say "This is a bad idea. I turn around and go back", and the rest of the group will say, "Okay, everybody remember that from here on XP and loot is a four-way split instead of five-way." I don't want to seperate them.
I know I'm railroading them into this, but they've spent the last two sessions sitting in a bar "listening for quests". If they want me to drop it in their lap, I'm gonna drop them in a jungle. Then, they'll have insentive to do something without relying on Deus ex Machinae.

2008-04-17, 09:01 AM
Railroading isn't bad if the group buys a ticket.

That said, give whoever runs this fortress a reason to send adventurers to this jungle. Once in the jungle, I have two words for you, Giant Monkies.

2008-04-17, 09:29 AM
Railroading isn't bad if the group buys a ticket.

That said, give whoever runs this fortress a reason to send adventurers to this jungle. Once in the jungle, I have two words for you, Giant Monkies.

Haha! Dire Apes are a bit too high right now...but, having them be chased through the jungle could be an interesting way to get them lost... :smallamused:
The guy who ran the fortress, I had thought maybe he's just a huge jerk, like in the Saw movies. But, I've never seen those movies, nor do I have an intent to, so...I need a better motive. I was sorta thinking instead of one guy whose a jerk, having a bunch of people who are jerks, like in the movie Rat Race.
Now that I'm typing things out, I've come across a pretty good idea: The world is in turmoil already, due to a war that is being fought between Tieflings and the not so demonic races, with Yuan-ti selling slaves to the Tieflings, Ogres trying to escape from their Giant captors in the northern mountains, and all the elves trying to keep everybody out of their bloody forest. Maybe the party was sent there as part of a bet between two of these groups. If the party can hold it's own and perform certain tasks, or fails to do the task, one of the groups will make concessions to another group.
Or maybe, it's more of a government conspiracy. The "good guy's" side sent the party into the woods for special training to use as "super soldiers" against the "bad guys." "quotation marks."

2008-04-17, 10:50 AM
I agree that this situation is not a bad use of railroading. Sometimes the situation calls for it, and in this instance they have a choice to not go into the fortress. Maybe you should add a couple of clues that this thing is not as on the up-and-up as it appears? I mean, before they arrive it looks shabby and then just spontaneously looks grandiose and that should clue them in that "not all is as it appears," but maybe add one or two othe clues before they enter the test. As for them being stuck with no way of escaping after that, sometimes in real life people get put in situations where they have no choice what happens to them and have to live with bad consequences. If the party is angry at someone, they should only be angry at themselves.

Perhaps to lessen the feeling of DM fiat you can give them a will save to resist the teleporting? Just make the DC fairly high and say if one person gets teleported, they all do (teleporting source is actually a sphere that locks on to one player and teleports everything in a certain radius, or some such).

Of those two choices, the super-soldiers idea is the most interesting, in my opinion, and lends the teleporter more of a personality. If they got sent their because the guy's a jerk then he's just sort of a jerk. If it's because he's a hard-boiled, beaurocratic ends-justify-the-means sort, chompin' on a cigar with an eye-patch and a scar? That's awesome.

Another choice could be that the perpetrator is planning something devious in the local area and came up with a plan to lure powerful people into a trap and send them halfway across the world so he doesn't have as much resistence when his plan starts in motion.

2008-04-17, 11:04 AM
In that last case, a half dead party member of the last party sent into the fortress, running by screaming and yelling about wild mobs of hairy sentient killer apes would get them on their toes. A few well-timed spot- and listen checks and they'll be doing double guards in no time.

One time in a wheel of time adventure I was running, I had the party tracked by a fairly low-level animal, a sort of hairy, walking bird who was a scavenger type. The animal was really good in tracking, and was following the adventurers night and day because of the left-overs of their meals and the waste of their hunted animals. They moved at day, the thing cought up with them in the evening and was circeling them at night. The creature was not from that continent but was used to people (it was half trained as a hunt-dog, eh, bird by invaders). I had them spot the creature's huge eyes at night when the moon was shining on it. They heard things moving in the bushes, and sometimes they saw some movement on the track behind them. I kept it all quite eerie and mysterious, never letting them see the whole beast. It totally freaked them out. Since there were other thing to do in that vast forest, I used it as a sort of mood-setter and kept it going for 3 evenings in a row. By then half the party couldn't sleep, one was riding backwards, and all were really freaked out by the big eyes and strange noises.

In the end they smacked it silly, kept it alive and trained it as a pet. The thing wouldn't really do tricks (can;t have them have a natural 20 tracker doing their bidding all the time) but it would guard and be creepy to townsfolk. They loved it.