Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Phandelver ( Part 2 )

So, after deciding to rest in the wizards quarters for an hour (I tossed the idea around, but as the module describes some other rooms occupants, they simply prep to ambush rather than roam around) to patch their wounds, the party sets out again, crossing the chasm by the north bridge and looking into a room that dead ends...though it does have a lot of beaver pelts in it. Which I note are both heavy yet players often forget to come back for such things.

Now the thing is there was a secret door in the wall. And I'm kind of at a loss for how to run such things - because while a video game might have some slight difference in the graphics as a clue, if you say anything about a particular wall in tabletop, the players will then swarm that wall. And you can't describe every single wall. And making up some sort of ambiguous clue that is attributable to the room but is a clue to the secret door (ie, strange air currents) - well, why didn't the module maker do that?

Never mind, it's not a big deal - the players decide to leave the pelts where they are for now and head south along the east side of the chasm, coming to a corridor that leads east and...right to a dead end. Now THIS time the PC's recognise something is amiss! But of course the person who looks fails the check and the next person who looks because they looked, gets it. Ah, that special anti-climaxical quality of D&D - so much like reality, in a way!

They go through and...the thing is, in this room there's a cistern and some barrels and a door to the east (and one to the north I failed to read the map properly over!) and it's the rogue who goes and checks the barrels. Now he's a rogue so I don't imagine he'd just roll the dang barrels around - but there are enemies in a nearby room who would hear that (the module tells me). So I have him do a stealth check as a compromise between the two positions, which he passes handily and searches the barrels without incident! And then he checks the cistern as well, where he rolls well and spots a rope going down into it and a bag at its end.

Now the thing is the wizard is supposed to have run from his room way back and taken whats in the bag. But you know, players actually exploring their environment is good. So it'd suck to say there's nothing in the bag. So I make up the fiction that the bag had a second part that was hard to get into and so the wizard gave up trying to grab what was in it - I have the healing potion and eight of the gold from the wizards stash still be there (four players at that point). That way I'm not inventing treasure (because Adventure League says NO to that!), just distributing what was there. I'm pretty sure there are some gamers so rigid of mind they'd treat the wizard taking everything AS a rule. You guys suck. But if no one would do such a rigid thing, then I'm good with that.

So the Druid, Lucian, decides to look for tracks - a fair move. And so he finds a pair of them. Boot marks leading to the east door (so it's kind of okay I mistakenly didn't mention the north door!). Unbeknownst to them (though guessable!), one set is from the Redbrand who almost slayed the Tubbleweed the Rogue. The second is from the wizard (I noted some wet water around the cistern - in fact maybe the events happened in the reverse order. It may have been the druids tracking which showed the wet ground which lead to the rogue searching the cistern).

So they decide east! I ask how they move and they go with stealthy - it's funny how one player will do it and then suddenly every other player follows suit. But anyway, the enemies in the west room (the door to which I have revealed to the players by now) do not hear them, even though the Dwarf Fighter Murden fails dismally. Because I went with a group stealth check and half passed and frankly it is SO predictable someone will fail that you are basically (deliberately or not) railroading the party into something if you expect everyone to pass their stealth check to avoid something. I think the designers know that and that's why they made group checks. Which is eminently sensible!

And they climb some stairs, finding themselves in the ruins of the manor on the edge of town - having exited the dungeon from its entrance!

And shortly after this, the ambush happened....

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