My D&D 4E Greyhawk group have reached the Demonweb Pits, looking for the soul of their bullywug companion (played by Paul). Yeah, it’s just another day in my Greyhawk game!
Using this adventure out of the original context it was published in works well. Mostly. My group are not big mappers, especially as it’s rarely needed with the dungeons I use in this campaign. This is quite a difference to the AD&D group I run, where the megadungeons that game is based around require mapping. So, the long paths of the web are somewhat disorientating. This isn’t all bad though, as it is the proper effect. The trick here will not be to overdo it, instead to make sure the adventure progresses with the players feeling disorientated but not frustrated by the web.
It’s more interesting when they’re having meaningful encounters, after all.
What do you do when you see some driders on a lower level of the web? If you’re Greg and you’re playing a Slayer, you jump down the 40 feet to them and fall prone on your face. And you have the paladin (Rich) join you. And after the combat is over, the temporary wizard hire (Paul) will realise that he actually knows the Featherfall spell and you need not have taken the damage!
Even better was when the group ran into a priest holding some beautiful women captive. Adam understands that pretty much every encounter on the Demonweb Pits will be with evil priests, demons and corrupted humans. So, being a bard who has a slightly insane Bluff skill, he went into a big spiel about how he and his companions are all scions of the demon princes and how they’re meant to be here, so why is the priest interrogating them – he should be bowing down to them! Adam’s roll was exceptionally good, just shy of 50 as I recall. In other words, he was convincing.
Thus, he was quite taken aback when the priest, shouting out a battle cry to Kord, one of the good gods, attacked.
Greg, whose character worships Kord, was not amused. He began to berate Adam. I, on the other hand, was much amused. Here’s Greg lecturing Adam.
Greg and Adam tried to calm down the priest, to no avail. “I will not listen to your lies!”… and he then cast a silence spell to stop their further attempts.
The group did eventually knock him out. Martin teleported into the cage holding the girls, thinking, “If they attack me, I can teleport out and they can’t escape.” One of the party thoughtfully opened the door as well, just in case Martin couldn’t teleport out. The girls revealed themselves to be werewolves, and gratefully attacked Martin and the rest of the group, rushing through the now-open door.
Martin was not amused. I was very amused.
With players like these, you just need a modicum of interest in the encounters – they’ll provide the rest of the fun. Adam and Greg have been playing with me for twelve or thirteen years at this point, and I’m coming up to ten years with Martin as well. Rich I’ve known for close to a decade, though he only “just” joined us in D&D… about seven years ago. Paul’s only just joined this game, but we’ve been playing together in D&D Encounters for several years now, and I’m very grateful to the Organised Play opportunities and for having a FLGS to play in – without those options, I likely wouldn’t have met any of them.
So, thanks guys! Here’s to our gaming together in 2014… let’s see what we can do with it!