Tower of the Oracle
Okay, so this is my current game, and I want to detail what happened so that current stuff going on has some context. This page is going to be super long and stuff, idk maybe I will split it up in the future, but for now I am just going to leave it like this big old mess. Maybe there is a way that I can type all of this in word and just upload it as a file to display in html, I will look into that later. I'm rambeling, sorry, let's start with character introductions shall we?
This fantastic piece of art was done by the player who plays King! So let's learn more about the team, starting from the left:
- Kav (he/him) is a kobold warlock who with help from his trusty stead flapjack and his pact magic from the great Dolly Parton, seeks revenge on the cattle rustlers who killed is mentor and bestest friend.
- Yin (she/her) is a satry druid who has seen very little of the world and knows even less, after passing her masters trail's she began to set out from her isolated home to learn more about the world and hopefully make some friends along the way.
- King (she/her) is a varana artificer who along with her trusty robot Leigon, seeks to start an industrial revolution with her knowledge and skill of both magic and technology. Also cause some chaos, maybe.
- Aerwyn (she/her) is a triton paladin who was kidnapped by pirates at a young age. Though that crew was one day defeated by another pirate vessal, where she was trained on how to sail the sea. Now she seeks to prove herself on land to the captain that rescued her
- Talon (he/him) is a human cleric who lived his life a soldier serving the Viraxas Emperor. After the empire suffered a defeat in a decisive battle, ending the empires advances, Talon has retired and looks to learn to live outside battle and his homeland.
Okay, now that you've met the players, let's get into the game.
So here is how I am going to structure these main sections of the page, I am going to tell you what I had planned for the sessions, and then afterward I am going to tell you what actually happened. I should note, every table is different, so don't expect that should you run the exact same game you will get the same results.
For this game overall I had an idea in mind of choosing a player at random and deciding that they would get access to the plot device of the game, constant prophetic visions. Hence the name of the game, but that is for a later part of this page.
The players would be starting the game all apart of a travelling caravan, I wanted an excuse for the players to be isolated at the start of the game and have the number of npc's and locations they could go be limited. The reason for the isolation is for the big moment to happen at the end of the session when the player receives the powers. The other sections of the first session were going to be a small simple ambush near a magical stone in the forest that the players will find by following the tracks of a group of monsters who stole something from the caravan that they are on. Some other things that I planned before the start of the session were the names of the npcs that were apart of the caravan because they were the only people around to talk to, and I planned on how the monsters got away with the loot without leaving too obvious a trail.
The rest of the session was done almost entirely with improvisation, I often see how it can be pretty difficult to know what someone needs to role in order to do something, so I thought I would explain how I do it here, cause why not. I tend to set difficulties on checks based on how my players describe what they are doing, though generally there is an easy rule to follow when deciding how hard something should be. 5-10 for easy checks, 11-15 for medium checks, 16-20 for hard checks, 21-25 for extra hard checks, 26-30 for impossible checks. I know that those are pretty abstract descriptions, so let's say easy checks are things like can you find a tailor in a city, medium checks are can you these horse hooves in this well travelled muddy dirt, hard checks are like spotting a single person in a large crowd, extra hard checks are for doing things like lifting a giant boulder or creating a new spell, and impossible checks are like landing an ace on a trick shot. I hope that helps!
So, let's get into what actually happened, for the first part of the session things progressed how I wanted them to, the players interacted with the members of the caravan and were made curious by the fact that I pointed one of the carts out as different. I got them interacting with the caravan members by having them approach the party, instead of waiting for the party to approach them, a simple conversion about how they were stopping for the night and asking if they needed anything gave some experienced players the ability to get into their new character's boots and the new players the opportunity to speak because they were the only ones who could in that situation, even it was just a ok and no thank you. The party woke up the next morning to the sound of yelling and then being searched for something important to the caravan leader they had met yesterday had gone missing. The players asked around the other carts, while the caravan leader took up the responsibility to talk to the weird one. The players jumped at the opportunity to investigate, for if there is one thing you can count on, it is players getting the scent of intended path toward adventure. They looked around for clues eventually leading them toward the opposite side of the road and down through a secret passageway beneath a mountain side toward a small forest on the other side. It was here that players saw a big purple light in the distance and went toward it. Then combat occurred after those who had stolen the purple glowie thing and the caravan master's stuff came out of hiding. The players were successful, though being low level, it was still scary due to taking damage, and were rewarded upon their return. At this point the caravan was then ready to move on, and the party were asked check-in with the other carts and inform them that they were packing up to leave soon. The player I had chosen at random to receive the oracle powers was then asked to check out the weird cart and immediately wanted to do that, as did the rest of the party. So, when they opened it, they saw a black spirit race out of the cart knocking the player over and then saw the corpse of a newly dead woman in the back of it. It was here that I decided to call a break in the session
At this point I asked the player to read something out loud that their character was involuntarily saying, a prophecy if you will, it went like this: "Verily I say unto you, the era of the sword and magic is nigh the era of the Passing Suns. The Time of Death's Hand and the Red Sky is nigh, the Time of Decay and the Time of Sorrow: Tedd Deireadh, the Time of End. The dead will rise amidst grave and all else will be reborn by their hands. It will be of six fingers, of enque leper, of the seed that has been sown. A seed which will not sprout but destroy. Ess'tuath esse! Thus it shall be! Watch for the signs! What signs these shall be, I say unto you: first the world will flow with the blood of Ista, the Bolld of Sages!"
However, while this was happening for everyone else, the player was receiving visions. A pink tree atop a city garden, a hand reaching out to pluck a leaf and when it did the scene shifted, the person stood in the same place, but instead of looking toward a beautiful city, they saw the charred husk of the tree and the city burning down in front of them.
For this game, I wanted a prophecy to semi-predict the future of the game, and to foreshadow what the players would be trying to stop over the course of the adventure. However, these events are far into the future, and for at least the next leg of their journey, they only need to worry about what is going on with their friend and try to help them.
The players began work to attempt to learn more about the mysterious dead lady and all that was going on in the cart she was in. So, the players devised a plan to sneak in a learn what they could. The plan was successful, mostly on account of one of the PC's was the person guarding the cart at the time. The players discovered a strange devise at the front of the cart, embedded into the wood was a strange device shaped like an hourglass.
So that was the first session, there was lots of dialog and combat took up most of the time, overall, it was a pretty good session to onboard mainly new players due to its isolated nature and clear direction for where the adventure would be. If you are looking to run your first session for some new players my main recommendation is to start at level 1, a lot of people will start at level 3 to skip over the more tedious aspects of early get D&D, but new players are going to appreciate the limited number of decisions right at the start, and it will allow them to get a better sense of their abilities as they get them instead of having 3 levels of abilities all at once. Another piece of advice is to check in and be a close guiding hand for the players turn in combat, this is the best place for new players with little experience roleplaying because combat gives them a structured order as to when they get to do their thing, instead of them having to jump into roleplay.
We started this session with a thunderstorm, being in a travelling caravan the party was sent to go look for shelter for the caravan. Eventually they stumbled upon an isolated farmhouse and asked to hold up inside. I again wanted to keep the players isolated and give them a clear direction of where to go, this is because there were new players that were apart of this adventure, and thus I wanted to give them the chance to learn how the game is played in a sort of linear fashion. This gives new players a chance to make decisions and do things in character, essentially the roleplaying portion of the game. This is the hardest part of getting into D&D, joining a table with experienced players will sometimes result in them being turned off to the hobby due to how difficult, or complicated it can be. Other ways to help on-board new players is to ask them questions directly over the course of play, this helps by giving them a sort of turn to do something instead of not knowing when to jump into the roleplay not wanting to interrupt someone else.