This will be a short post.
Tonight I ran the first mini-adventure from Dungeon Delve. The book contains mini-adventures from level 1 through 30. Terry and I will alternate running games, so he is DMming next fortnight. Next week, I think Travis is doing something.
The game went pretty well. The level 1 adventure is a bit of a walkover for experienced players, so I added a couple of genre-specific bonus monsters: a pair of Guard Drakes up top, and a pair of Spitting Drakes in the third encounter, scaled down to level 1 by the rules.
The guard drakes helped keep the party away from the slingers. Without them, there was only a bunch of minions to do the job, and the party would simply have gone straight though them. It worked well – the party spent turns on them rather than taking out the ranged guys first.
The spitting drakes added a much-needed range attack to the final encounter. The encounter was a standoff, with the party in the corridor and the kobolds in the room. Without the drakes’ ranged attacks, the party would have stayed in the corridor until the Cloud of Daggers forced the kobolds to enter the corridor one by one and get creamed.
As it turned out, the encounters were correctly tough for a mini-adventure with disposable characters. All the party survived until the third encounter, and two survived that. They took out the wyrmling, after which the sole remaining kobold ran for it.
I … I fudged a couple of dice rolls to avoid an early TPK. If no-one noticed, then mission accomplished. 🙂 I also used identical figurines marked with numbers to conceal which of the kobolds were non-minions. At one point, a player targeted Orange 7 (the minion) rather than Orange 8 (the non-minion) with an encounter power because he had lost track of which kobold was which. Again: mission accomplished – the chaos of battle effectively simulated. (he missed anyway, but that’s not the point).
So, what did I learn? Well … it was a reminder of just how much work running a game is, even when 90% of it is done for you. The main issue is how slowly the game runs, and a big cause of that is the number of seconds that it takes me to locate basic stats – defenses and attack bonuses. Each time I’m scanning the stat block, finding the correct spot. Part of it is simply how fine the print is – I’m beginning to get longsighted. Reading glasses soon.
Meh. It’s all good so far.
ps: I also had a chance to show the guys how I like to manage initiative. My battlemat has the numbers 25-1 in permanent marker written down a couple of the edges. I just have someone put the character (or for delve, player) initial against their initiative, and you can just read off the round. Red for monsters, blue for players. If someone delays then you just put an asterisk next to their initials. When they want to take their turn, the initials get wiped and redrawn at their new point. I use a couple of sheets of good clear vinyl (from Clark Rubber) over the top of a grid. Using a couple of small sheets rather than one big one gives you a fair bit of flexibility – the vinyl kind of sticks together. Whiteboard marker does not work – you must use water-soluble overhead transparency marker. Only hassle is that if you use a cloth to erase, you get ink all over your hands. But on the whole, it was well received I think.