So at this point, my campaign has gone on for I believe 5 sessions. The characters are at about the halfway point in the Rivenroar module, if not Castle Rivenroar, and I think it's worth taking a look at how things have gone to this point especially in light of how many changes I've been making.
My group consists of a Human Wizard named Velwyn, an Elf Rogue named Vares, a Human Paladin of Bahamut named Allayd, a Warforged Runepriest named Purg, and a Human Monk named Yama the Grain of Sand. There have been some changes to the group since we started. Vares used to be a Half-Orc and Purg used to be a Minotaur. Both Vares and Purg have had their names changed since their players were trying to be clever/funny in a juvenile way and instead just annoyed me. Naming a character "Idgas" and then telling me it stands for "I Don't Give A Shit" just isn't going to fly with me. There have been other minor changes with different characters as well. At this point, I think everybody is pretty much settled in to their characters. As of last night, they had finally hit level 2 as well as received their first magical items. So I'll go down and give a recap of each part of the module as they went through it.
Things started off well. The Bar Fight! encounter was a smashing success for the PCs. They did a good job of bottling up the enemies and keeping the fire from being a problem. In retrospect, I just wish I'd done two things. One is mechanical and that is I wish I'd had the goblins attacking the tavern from multiple directions at once. It would have made things more hectic and chaotic and the NPC bar patrons would have factored in more. The other thing I would have done is presented more reason why the goblins were attacking this particular tavern. As it was, the players understood (later) that the goblins were there causing havoc and damage, but it would have been nice to have something more specific earlier on.
The Ogre Bombardier battle was also quite fun for everybody. The players didn't waltz through this one as they did the previous fight. In fact, they really got pushed to the edge here. It made things pretty exciting.
After the ogre fight, I had a bunch of social interactions. The PCs spend a few more hours helping put out fires and help injured people and basically did the sorts of things that decent people do in that situation. Since their inn had burned down and in appreciation for their help, one of the city guard officers offered them a place to stay at the barracks, which the PCs accepted. The next morning they were awoken by a messenger from Councilman Troyas and asked to meet him at noon. The players go to the mess hall, have some breakfast, and chat up some of the guardsmen about things before heading to the market. Two of them ran across the captured hobgoblin in the Stockades and went to go talk to him, but the guards kept the players away, pointing out that there was more than a few people who would like to take justice into their own hands and they wanted the hobgoblin alive so they can kill him within the law. Then they were off to their appointment with Troyas. I didn't run the optional skill challenge. It didn't seem all that necessary, interesting, or well designed honestly. After some talk, the Councilman explained the situation with the kidnapped people and stolen trophies and the PCs agreed to take care of it. Troyas suggested they interrogate the captured Hobgoblin, which my players thought was funny given that they'd tried to do that earlier.
The hobgoblin interrogation was a catastrophe for the players. Absolute catastrophe. Which means that it was really really funny. They took just 4 skill rolls to come up with the 3 failures needed to fail the entire challenge. 3 Intimidation failures just made it hilarious. The Hobgoblin, in the stockades, facing death or a lifetime of labor, was not impressed with the players. Even the town guards were chuckling at the players. In the end, the Hobgoblin actually had pity on the players and told them where to go. It would take them near a Hand patrol, but the players didn't have to know that.
The Tracking The Goblins skill challenge went much better for the players. Very straight forward for them, though since they got the bad map from the hobgoblin, they were still going to run into the goblin ambush. This fight went about as well as I could have hoped for. Better, really, considering that I put it together on the fly. I'd literally just gotten in some forest Dungeon Tiles the day before, threw together a battlefield with them, and picked a fight from later in Rivenroar and copied the monsters to use. It was just hard enough that they didn't tear through it like wet paper, but it didn't really push them all that much either. It felt just right for a fight that was, strictly speaking, not necessary to have.
I'll continue about what happened in Rivenroar itself in Report #2