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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dead in Thay: Free RPG Day

Yesterday was Free RPG Day. Each year at the game store, they handle the distribution of the products differently. Sometimes they're plopped out there for anyone to take, and other times they are locked away in a vault and rationed to a handful of people who know the secret code.

So going in, I just assumed the worst. I had been given the DCC RPG free rpg day adventure already so hey, I made out just fine. I did want the Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure if possible.

This was one of the good years. I was handed not only the Lamentations adventure, but also an LoTF rulebook! I was bowled over. The store manager told me that all sorts of extra stuff had come in the kit - including a 13th Age hardcover and.. a Dungeon Crawl Classics rulebook!

My mind was blown! Because of this, one of my players got the DCC RPG book.. for free. He was beyond happy. It was awesome.

We ended up with three tables running at the same time. Wizards of the Coast did not provide anything this year, so that meant we had two Pathfinder tables going while I ran some more of Dead in Thay's Doomvault for two regular Encounters players and two new people.

The new people were nice and had played a lot of older editions of D&D.

My players were ready to explore a new section that looked cool to them - the Predator Pools. When preparing them, I was very underwhelmed. It was just a series of rooms with a bunch of fights with aquatic trolls, aquatic ghouls, etc. Some rooms had hovering globes of water 15 feet in diameter that the heroes and the bad guys could move around with an intelligence check. If you get sucked in to one, it is tricky to get out.

74. Kraken Pool

OK.. I must be missing something here. If the PCs look into this pool, a kraken attacks. This thing has 174 hit points and 3 attacks at +11 that do 21 damage each! This adventure is for characters of levels 6-8! This kraken can kill some PCs in one round. I thought this monster was way too powerful.

I had two new people with level 7 characters. I decided ahead of time I'd play it by ear. I halved the bonus to hit, the damage, and the hit points. The encounter became more of a story thing where the PCs would get snatched up in tentacles, and the others would run over and cut off the tentacles to free their buddies. It worked out really well, and I ran it as a "soft" intro to the rules.

Telling people how this edition works is very easy, by the way. You say:

- You get one action and a move on your turn
- Your saving throws are keyed to your stats. So you make a DEX saving throw, a CON saving throw, etc.
- Sometimes you get Advantage, which means you roll twice and take the higher result. Disadvantage means you roll twice and take the lower result.

That's about it! Each class has a few gimmicks. When I looked at the halfling rogue pregen, I was really impressed with their abilities, including getting to re-roll natural one's.

75. Dragon Turtle Prison

In this room, two dragon turtles are on long chains. They lurk in a pool. There's two hovering globes of water. The heroes sent the rogue in with her cloak of invisibility active. She still made a stealth to avoid making noise.. rolled natural 20's each time! She listened at one door and heard screams (the Naga who rules this area was eating a prisoner) and nothing at the other door.

The heroes eventually used the globes on the dragon turtles, trapping them (sort of). I played this very loose with the rules as well, opting to go with fun ideas over what the adventure says should happen.

I should note that again, I thought the dragon turtles were wayyyy too powerful. There is some text in the adventure about the turtles just wanting to leave the place, but still...! Two of them?!

76. Naga's Den

There's a naga in here with ten dominated prisoners. I guess the prisoners aren't consequential..? The adventure was vague on them and their role in all this.

We ended up having a huge battle that spread into the previous room. The naga moved one of the globes with the dragon turtle to trap the rogue in it with the turtle! So our rogue was floating in the globe fighting with the turtle.

These rooms were very big, so there was a lot of double movement going on. Eventually, the rogue was freed by an NPC ally (Aphrodite, the half-drow/half-tiefling that the PCs saved from the black dragon mewling last Wednesday).

The naga was killed and the treasure was looted.

77. Scrag Pool

Just a couple of Sea Trolls. They were easily killed. I liked this because I got to use my favorite minis - the Pathfinder Skull & Shackles Sea Trolls.

That's it! It was an above average session. All in all, Free RPG Day was great and everything worked out pretty well. People around here aren't well-informed about D&D 5th edition at all, so I'm not sure how it is going to be received upon release.


Aldo Ghiozzi said...

That's so funny you got the core book for free. Stores actually pay wholesale for those as part of our Uber Kits for the event to sell at a larger profit margin. I wonder if the store was being super nice or just didn't read things when they signed up!

Glad you had a good day.

Aldo Ghiozzi
Organizers of Free RPG Day

Sean said...

Well... I guess they were super-nice! The books will go to good use, that is for sure.