Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thunderspire Session 3 Thoughts

This should have been written significantly sooner than after session 4, however I didn’t get around to it until now. I don’t have too many thoughts that haven’t been covered in my previous post session thoughts.

The upgraded stats worked much better, and seemed to amp up the challenge.

I’m still not thrilled with the skill challenges mechanic. It feels too forced. I’d really like to see someone who’s good at it run it. It’s one thing to appreciate the magic of Disney, it’s another when you’re trying to do the same thing with you as host.

A significant portion of this session was spent off of the official adventure, making use of some of the material developed in the H2 Orcus conversion. I can not speak highly enough about this. Seriously, if you’re going to play H1-H3 you NEED to download this series, and incorporate it into your game.

My one big thought about the game was what I expected to be the big encounter of the night, the fight with the shadow dragon! I need to do a whole post on how I’ve used (and not) dragons in my games. This one is a young shadow dragon, with some fairly potent powers. Appropriate for a dragon solo, even a low level one. What didn’t work for me was how easily the players managed to shut down the encounter, even before it got off the ground.

They didn’t mind! They'd just kicked a dragon’s ass!

Me? I minded. I’m pretty sure I didn’t take it as well as I should have. I’m pretty sure I looked at the board, picked up the dragon and said something like “Well... shit.”

What I did do was take a break, reshuffled my notes, and forged on.

I had expected earlier in the session that the players would confront Brugg the Enforcer afte burning down the tavern*, but they managed to avoid him. As we still had lots of playing time to go (since I had expected the shadow dragon to take much longer) I decided that Brugg would be waiting for the players in an ambush.

Quantum Ogre in action?

This ended up being the final fight of the evening, and I think it went well. It was big, bad, and had my players on their toes. It felt like everything the dragon fight should have been... and yet I’m not sure I should have included it. It made sense, story-wise, considering their prior actions, but I kinda feel like I did it more to satisfy my own need for a big finale for the evening...

I’d really like to know your thoughts. I’ve set up a poll, but comments are even more welcome.

Session write up soon!

*It seems as if it isn't a D&D game if someone doesn't burn down the tavern!


  1. Quantum Orge, kill it with fire!

  2. It's complicated. ;)

    The fight with the Shadow dragon should never have been so easy. And that's the reason I like to use a DM screen.

    A dragon should NEVER be easy -- even for an uber mage. My dragon would have had better "rolls" than "he" actually "did."

    And then, for magical reasons yet to be explained, a couple of the players "natural 20s" would have "failed" anyway. :O

    Sorry, but dragons should NEVER be that easy -- no matter what a DM has to do.

    Though the confrontation with Brugg was to be expected -- at some point -- perhaps not right then. Still, your feelings of "DM" disappointment were to be expected.

    Still, they probably should have been better held under control -- until the next gaming session.

    But those are just my thoughts. ;)