Asking for Advice Abound

Ducky4u2

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Hello again!

Wonderful advice! Thankfully we are on spring break so I am going to try and dedicate some time to developing out the starting location, There were some things I saw I wanted to respond to.

When you have what you think is a basic conflict and start, take notes. Remember the villain is going to want to get his goal while the heroes try to stop him. Write down anything important as you go.

An example is barry is fighter. meets local cleric, shondra. gifts money to be healed when hurt, or even shorter B+S=preferred treatment.

Also after you end a session write down what you think the villain will do for the next session, and things that the heroes have to overcome if they run into them.

I hope this is okay for you to use. I tend to improvise a lot which means all my plans depend on what the heroes do.
This is where I am mediocre at, so this helps a lot. Since I ran only pregens, I just really needed basic notes on where we left off, anything specific, and where we were going. I mean BASIC too, as the pregens always had the other notes I needed. What are the major areas you track if you don't mind me asking?

I can recommend a thread I made a few years ago, Code Red Monsters.
Thank you! This helps me because I would like to start them with a creature that is NOT rats, though classic, this helps me figure out what might be too much.

Decide where the characters' home base is, detail that. Detail a couple of possible adventures early, stat up some major NPCs and a couple of creature lairs.
To start they are going to be in the outpost. I know I want to detail the commander of the outpost, two people working directly under them. I am toying with another party, as I plan on there being multiple "teams" that take turns patrolling their part of the border in a rotation of some kind. I also am toying with having part of their duty at the outpost being working for the post "masters" which are the civilians who act as cook, carpenter, and other positions. I am thinking it might be easier to make only one and have the team just report to them if I do that though.

As for adventures, I steal ruthlessly.
I want to do this, but I want to look for other things as well because I want to bring in some actual folklore and other stories and possibly tweak them.

All you need to know is a general feel of the world, more information about the area the PCs start in, even more information about the town/suburb/whatever they start in and that is it.
This is why I want to look for folklore. I want there to be a storybook feel. Not Disney, but wonderous. I am toying with the idea for example of glassmakers who employ the use of flail snails for example. They are colorful, unique, and wonderous.

You could always solicit some feedback from them by asking them questions built into their character concepts.
I never thought to build the questions into character creation. I ask them questions when creating characters usually, but it is usually aimed at helping them get a feel for their characters. Weird ones like, "What does you magic smell like?" I will see if I can put this to use. Thank you!

I've found the best way to get player feedback is to ask for their preference among limited options.
... You know, I have been teaching for four years now, and this is something they taught me for my students and I never once thought to put it to use for my players... I... you... I am shamed ha ha. Thank you for reminded me of this.

The same comes with gameplay, I've found. Pure, open world exploration leaves one of my groups paralyzed by indecision, but if I dangle some obvious choices in front of them, they'll pick and choose just fine.
This will help, you are right. I need to figure out what storylines I am going to dangle in front of them. I am thinking about making them 3rd level to start. They have played for years so they are comfortable with the game, it will open up some encounter options, and it can represent their training.

What kind of world mechanics are you concerned about? That might help with the advice that we can give.
Mostly, I am looking for encounter creation advice, magic item management, and creation advice, and tips for creating maps, I have a tileset and a battle map, but I think its the sizing of some of these things I am not getting, which isn't surprising. I am a terrible judge of distance and direction, I get lost backing out of my driveway ha ha.

Thank you again for all the awesome feedback, I am actually feeling jazzed about messing around tomorrow and seeing what I come up with!

Ducky4u2
 

Ducky4u2

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Validated User
Hey all,

So I am coming to the end of my spring break, and I wanted to recap some of the things I was working with.

So the outpost they are going to be stationed at is Fort Vigilance. NPCs are:

Commanding Officer:
Shar'ik Linebreaker: Half-Orc female veteran. Serious given her position, she has seen well accounted for recruits rise in the ranks, and she has seen foolish ones die. For that reason, she treats those under her as both family and acquaintances. Pragmatic, she has tempered ner natural rage into an iron will that refuses to accept anything less than success.

Rogan Cormier: Wood-Elf male ranger. A believer in tactical superiority, he is the right hand and trusted friend of Shar'ik, who seems to be the only one who doesn't consider him crass and abrasive. He is reserved, cunning, and quick. He is one of the ones who has risen to the rank of advanced king's scout, making him a specialist in operating behind enemy lines.

Doruman: Gnome male wizard. Ethereal and erudite, Doruman is there by appointment, and although he has no station per se in the fort, he is afforded the respect one of his ability has earned. He is there to serve as counsel and mentor to those of the arcane nature, and to help with research and lore. He always seems to have some research project to work on, and as such does not always have his mind in the present moment.

Civilian Staff: Players will be assigned to one of these as regular fort duties.
Octavia Booke: Halfling female commoner. Really she is the bookkeeper. She comes about once every few weeks to take inventory and expense reports to send to the various training houses, and she handles all orders of supplies. Bookkeepers like her serve 2-3 outposts at a time. She is a gentle and friendly sort.

Miranda Moonchaser: Moon-Elf female healer. Miranda doesn't stay in the outpost proper but is the healer used by the outpost. As such, it is not uncommon for Shar'ik to occasional send men to help her at the small temple she occupies.

Tomasin Corke: Halfling male cook. In charge of not only the meals, but also the cleaning of the fort, he is a humble, friendly, albeit odd fellow. Perhaps too kind for his own good, he has hid secrets of new recruit mishaps to help them continue to learn. Easily the most trusted nonregulation man in the fort.

Cord Ironstrike: Human male blacksmith. Serious and short of temper, he doesn't suffer fools lightly. In charge of upkeep and repair of the fort, he serves as both blacksmith and carpenter. It is not unlike him to take those with the aptitude and to temper them like the steel he works with.

Other teams:
Brandison Gentry III - Spoiled, posh, and entitled, he has only been at the fort for eight months, and while he has established his ability, he does tend to rub people the wrong way due to his personality. Probably the only one Tomasin has to work to like.

Webster "Web" Booke: Halfling male Sorcerer. Nephew of Octavia, he requested the fort for the reason of being able to spend time when she visits. He doesn't speak about why or how, but he has an affinity for spiders. That aside, he is probably the friendliest and most welcoming of the people in the fort. Though his innate magic has a dark spin to it, he seems untouched by it as a person.

Opening sequence:

Team led to the fort by another team after meeting in one of the two local towns. (Debating making that a get to know ya session 00 of sorts). Met by Shar'ik, who puts them through a few tests to determine a team leader among them, as she believes in heirarchy and order. First is a battle with either undead or blights (need to choose). Second is helping a local farmer with an odd problem, three of his flail snails, which he uses to make glass, have gotten loose. Finally, reports of missing people have reached the fort, and need investigating, leading to an ettercap infestation. Players starting at level 3.

Too much? Asking for a friend ha ha.

Thanks!

Ducky4u2
 

Ducky4u2

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Validated User
Oh, should add. Fort Vigilance is large enough to staff 4 teams and the commanding officers. Typical Motte and Baliey style with a natural hill dug out around it to create a ditch and drawbridge motion.
 

csyphrett

Registered User
Validated User
Hey all,

So I am coming to the end of my spring break, and I wanted to recap some of the things I was working with.

So the outpost they are going to be stationed at is Fort Vigilance. NPCs are:

Commanding Officer:
Shar'ik Linebreaker: Half-Orc female veteran. Serious given her position, she has seen well accounted for recruits rise in the ranks, and she has seen foolish ones die. For that reason, she treats those under her as both family and acquaintances. Pragmatic, she has tempered ner natural rage into an iron will that refuses to accept anything less than success.

Rogan Cormier: Wood-Elf male ranger. A believer in tactical superiority, he is the right hand and trusted friend of Shar'ik, who seems to be the only one who doesn't consider him crass and abrasive. He is reserved, cunning, and quick. He is one of the ones who has risen to the rank of advanced king's scout, making him a specialist in operating behind enemy lines.

Doruman: Gnome male wizard. Ethereal and erudite, Doruman is there by appointment, and although he has no station per se in the fort, he is afforded the respect one of his ability has earned. He is there to serve as counsel and mentor to those of the arcane nature, and to help with research and lore. He always seems to have some research project to work on, and as such does not always have his mind in the present moment.

Civilian Staff: Players will be assigned to one of these as regular fort duties.
Octavia Booke: Halfling female commoner. Really she is the bookkeeper. She comes about once every few weeks to take inventory and expense reports to send to the various training houses, and she handles all orders of supplies. Bookkeepers like her serve 2-3 outposts at a time. She is a gentle and friendly sort.

Miranda Moonchaser: Moon-Elf female healer. Miranda doesn't stay in the outpost proper but is the healer used by the outpost. As such, it is not uncommon for Shar'ik to occasional send men to help her at the small temple she occupies.

Tomasin Corke: Halfling male cook. In charge of not only the meals, but also the cleaning of the fort, he is a humble, friendly, albeit odd fellow. Perhaps too kind for his own good, he has hid secrets of new recruit mishaps to help them continue to learn. Easily the most trusted nonregulation man in the fort.

Cord Ironstrike: Human male blacksmith. Serious and short of temper, he doesn't suffer fools lightly. In charge of upkeep and repair of the fort, he serves as both blacksmith and carpenter. It is not unlike him to take those with the aptitude and to temper them like the steel he works with.

Other teams:
Brandison Gentry III - Spoiled, posh, and entitled, he has only been at the fort for eight months, and while he has established his ability, he does tend to rub people the wrong way due to his personality. Probably the only one Tomasin has to work to like.

Webster "Web" Booke: Halfling male Sorcerer. Nephew of Octavia, he requested the fort for the reason of being able to spend time when she visits. He doesn't speak about why or how, but he has an affinity for spiders. That aside, he is probably the friendliest and most welcoming of the people in the fort. Though his innate magic has a dark spin to it, he seems untouched by it as a person.

Opening sequence:

Team led to the fort by another team after meeting in one of the two local towns. (Debating making that a get to know ya session 00 of sorts). Met by Shar'ik, who puts them through a few tests to determine a team leader among them, as she believes in heirarchy and order. First is a battle with either undead or blights (need to choose). Second is helping a local farmer with an odd problem, three of his flail snails, which he uses to make glass, have gotten loose. Finally, reports of missing people have reached the fort, and need investigating, leading to an ettercap infestation. Players starting at level 3.

Too much? Asking for a friend ha ha.

Thanks!

Ducky4u2
Looks good, Duck. You can use this to expand your mission profile.
CES
 

csyphrett

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Validated User
You asked what I track in my notes. I track mostly NPCs and player choices. In one adventure, I unleashed an army of pikachus (which I admit I use a lot more than I should). Most of the players were captured. My notes tracked who got electrocuted, who escaped, how many pikas went down, what happened to the electrocuted players, and what the active players did to rescue their friends from the secret bad guy volcano lair. Added NPCs and their status to the notes at the end of the adventure.
CES
 

Ducky4u2

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Validated User
Looks good, Duck. You can use this to expand your mission profile.
Cool! Ok, I think my next step is building out the adventure threads. How far do you usually plan out those threads given the sandbox nature of D&D and what do you do if the player take completely random path? Also, I am going to start trying to flesh out main, recurring, and one shot villains, but I will post that in another thread.

You asked what I track in my notes. I track mostly NPCs and player choices. In one adventure, I unleashed an army of pikachus (which I admit I use a lot more than I should). Most of the players were captured. My notes tracked who got electrocuted, who escaped, how many pikas went down, what happened to the electrocuted players, and what the active players did to rescue their friends from the secret bad guy volcano lair. Added NPCs and their status to the notes at the end of the adventure.
Do you have a particular system you use? By that I mean do you have an organizational structure? Index cards? Tokens? Pages and pages? Excel?

Thanks man! You rock!

Ducky4u2
 

csyphrett

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Validated User
Cool! Ok, I think my next step is building out the adventure threads. How far do you usually plan out those threads given the sandbox nature of D&D and what do you do if the player take completely random path? Also, I am going to start trying to flesh out main, recurring, and one shot villains, but I will post that in another thread.



Do you have a particular system you use? By that I mean do you have an organizational structure? Index cards? Tokens? Pages and pages? Excel?

Thanks man! You rock!

Ducky4u2
As an improvising GM, at a certain point the villains start driving the campaign and start messing with the heroes just to be pains. The strengths of this approach is you don't have to plan anything and it doesn't matter if the characters take a random path because the villains have made it personal and are threatening family members and so forth.

The weaknesses is obviously you have to be ready to change things on the fly, and you might have to juggle more than one scheme as your players try to figure out how to do things.

If you have black marketeer, an army of Tucker's kobolds, and a lich operating in the same area, the clues will be different and if the players think they are dealing with the lich and run into the kobolds, you have to be ready to run with that.

Also don't fall in love with your villains. Nothing makes a group of players madder than that one villain they had dead to rights and he is untouchable. A group of us did a cyberpunk game and the worst part of it was the villain was untouchable by normal tank guns, and wiped off the internet so our decker couldn't find anything about him. By the time my character was crushed by a burning shuttle, I was happy to get out of it.

So I improvise a lot, only plan enough ahead so I can switch up, and make it personal so the heroes develop a love/hate thing, and have a rogues gallery so if one guy goes down, another guy can come in and try out his own scheme. So if the Lich goes down, the kobolds move in and build their fort in his once loathly tower, and they have to be cleared out too except they use different tactics like concentrated burning arrow fire on targets instead of bringing bones back to life. The worse part is if there are two towers and they both have enemies that don't like the PCs.

For notetaking, I use a flow chart so I have events going down in boxes, and information in boxes to the side. I use index cards with villain stats and abilities for reference. I typically draw maps on notebook paper at the table so the players can see which way the arrows are flying. If the pc has a rival, I use the pc sheet with the rival having better stats
CES
 
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