WARNING. THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR WIZARDS OF THE COAST’S “LOST MINE OF PHANDELVER”, INCLUDED IN THE DUNGEONS & DRAGONS 5th EDITION STARTER SET
Firstly, apologies for those following on. I’ve been a little slow in getting these blog posts out recently. I’m generally a very quick writer but, for some reason, these take much longer than I thought they would. A lot of this is down to having to adapt my writing style to ensure it’s SEO friendly. One of the decisions I’ve come to is that I’ll be spending more time writing and less time worrying about all of the guff so things should speed up. Thanks for hanging in there.
I’m quite pleased that we managed to buck the trend of good session, bad session and Session 06 was just as good, if not better than Session 05.
Critical Rolls, Critical Roles
Last week’s session ended mid-battle with Lucius, the party’s Sorceror, taking a critical hit that floored him, from full health. It was a sobering realisation for the group to see just how fragile they can be, and the Cleric, Durin, began to understand just how important it is to keep a spell slot spare for just this very thing. Lucius rolled a 1 on his death save to further reinforce the point. Suddenly, we were one 50/50 roll away from our first death and the session got off with a bang.
After a very tense fight, everyone was worse for wear. They decided to take a short rest in the armoury to the North of the Redbrand Hideout, afraid to enter the jail cells but, after the rest, it was here where I think I pulled out some of my best voice acting to date. Mirna Drendar, one of the cells captives had been badly abused at the hands of the Redbrand. I won’t go into specifics here but I was moments away from tears myself dealing with a really uncomfortable topic.
I have a tip here – Be Subtle! Treat your players with respect. You only need to hint at certain things for your players to infer your meaning. More importantly, I also have a rule. Rule 8 – Know your audience! There are certain topics that you have to be extremely careful with and it’s best to deal with these in a Session Zero. I know my friends well enough to know where their boundaries are but if you are unsure keep it safe!
In the module, there are three occupants in the jail, Mirna Drendar, her daughter Nilsa (who was off-limits to the Rebrand) and her young son Nars. I introduced one of my first major changes to the plot here in order to tie into a larger campaign. Nars retained his name but became an orphan from Neverwinter to tie in directly with Lucius’ main plotline. Here’s something taken directly from the player’s character sheet.
“A girl my age, Elarra took me under her wing when I reached Neverwinter and taught me how to survive on the streets. She has been missing for a month.”
When questioned, Nars explained that he’d been thrown in the cell with the two girls, Ellie and Sterrah and that they’d all left Neverwinter together. Nars explained that Serrah was taken from the cell and then Ellie shortly afterwards. Lucius did not make the connection. We’ll come to that in a later post.
The group escorted the captives from the hideout and then began to make their way through the hideout. Then this fuckery happened.
Corlan announces that he plans to enter the next room stealthily, Lucius decides to join him to make use of his Darkvision, and I ask both to make stealth roles as they enter the room.
Corlan rolls a natural 1, drawing laughter from the group but then proudly announces that he has Lucky and gets to reroll any natural 1. He then proceeds to roll a second natural 1. The group laughs louder and then, not to be outdone, Lucius also proceeds to roll a 3rd natural 1.
“Oh, very stealthy” mutters Tsetung sarcastically.