D&D – Dark Sun: First Game
17 March 2011
Matt (DM), Drew (Lactose the Intolerant), Thom (Phye) and Euan (Jin)
I won’t go too much into the story here as Euan will be publishing a narrative account of the evening’s play. Let’s just say there was flipping and dying.
A few points before starting. Most of us haven’t role played seriously in quite a few years. For a couple of us (me included) it was back in junior high school, ie 20 years ago, so we are kind of finding our way. One thing we do need to try and do more of actual role playing, rather than meta gaming which is easy to fall into after playing a lot of Euro board games recently. Having Euan and Thom in the group is going be a great help as they have RP’ed more than the rest of us, and when a couple of people get into it, it makes it easier for the rest of the group to pick up on the cues and go along with it.
We have started off our Dark Sun campaign with the introductory 3 encounter adventure found in the Dark Sun Campaign Setting Book. This leads nicely into the adventure “The Vault of Darom Madar” which will then lead into Marauders of the Dune Sea. By that time I feel we will have become comfortable with our characters and the mechanics and I can focus more on story related DM’ing rather than just “encounter – whack a monster” situations and following someone else’s lead.
Looking at the game from a DM perspective we sorted out a few issues that left the combat feeling a bit stale. We didn’t quite understand the shifting rule and a couple of other movement rules which left parts of our second battle bogged down with the characters and monsters not moving for fear of opportunity attacks.
I thought there must be some way for the battles to move around the grid more and it turns out our understanding of shifting was a bit off, so this should help with next weeks session. From my point of view, I think I need to roleplay the creatures a bit better. Silt Runners, being savage tribal types, might take into account opportunity attacks and change tactics accordingly, but in our second battle the Kruthiks are basically non-sentient so wouldn’t care about opportunity attacks. They would just focus on the most dangerous enemy in their line of sight and go for it!
I was also put on the spot fairly quick smart with some interesting questions from Euan and Thom (in character) which led to my first real bout of “make stuff up on the spot”. But then again, that’s what roleplaying should really be. The danger with 4E as I can see it, is that you can become too bogged down in details, rules and meta gaming, especially with the miniatures and grids. Characters should be encouraged to come up with interesting ideas and actions and should be rewarded for doing so. As a DM, I should be focusing on letting my players create their own world with a little help from me.
One thing which did turn out well was the use of 3D terrain pieces which I whipped up over the weekend. I will be making some more, but the use of terrain and miniatures really did help create a more “3D fleshed out world” and helped the gameplay. I will be looking at a mix of papercraft scenery pieces and styrofoam terrain pieces.