Newbies on Patrol

Suggested Changes

We’ve been playing this campaign for awhile now and as DM I’ve had to step in very little. However, I’ve been taking notes as we play and finally sat down and put together a few ideas on making our play time more streamlined and fun. I’m 100% open to criticism and suggestions, so lets hear it!

Combat seems to be a little funky for us and I think there are a few reasons. Before jumping in the deep end and re-working how we do combat altogether, I want to try emphasizing class uniqueness and versatility over the hack-and-slash fights we’ve been having. This is largely my fault as I’ve been running combat more like 4th Edition.

Here’s a list of suggested changes in no particular order.

Critical Hits
Current rule: Automatically deals max damage times 2.
Suggested Change Option 1: Rules as Written – Roll your damage dice twice and add the results together. Only affects weapon/spell hits – poison and other effects are added AFTER the combat hits are added together.
Suggested Change Option 2: Max damage on first hit + an extra attack roll. Same as above where other effects apply after the critical hit.
GM’s Note: I think this single change above all others will make combat exciting again (MCEA!)

Sorcerer Class
Wild Magic

The Wild Magic table can randomly fire off a random effect when a sorcerer uses a spell. Think of a “normal” magic user using magic like this – they go to the magic fountain, position a glass under the faucet, open it a bit, fill up the glass precisely, and then shut the faucet off. When a sorcerer, especially one who practices Wild Magic, uses magic, it’s a bit different. They approach the fountain with a hammer, smash it, grab as much water as they can, then try to smash it shut again. This has only happened once in the game so far, which is not by design.

Suggested Change: Increasingly higher level spell slot levels will cause a higher chance to provoke a Wild Magic event, using the following table.

Spell Slot Level Final Number D20 Range % Chance
1 1 1 5%
2 2 1, 2 10%
3 2 1, 2 10%
4 3 1, 2, 3 15%
5 3 1, 2, 3 15%
6 4 1, 2, 3, 4 20%
7 4 1, 2, 3, 4 20%
8 5 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 25%
9 5 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 25%

GM’s Note: This will effectively make random effects happen significantly more often. If it becomes too much hassle, we can certainly tone it down a bit.

Tides of Chaos
This is another Sorcerer class feature that:
“Allows the character to gain advantage on one attack, ability check, or saving throw. A long rest is required before doing it again.”
The rules go on and say that:
ANY TIME AFTER THIS IS USED, whenever a spell is cast, it provokes an action from the Wild Magic Surge table
GM’s Note: This is less of a suggested change and more of a “Oh, I didn’t know that rule existed” note…

Rogue Class
Assassinate

Just a rules clarification here – Assassinate only applies to surprised creatures, which means that it cannot be used after combat has started in 99% of cases.

Sneak Attack
GM’s Gripe: This ability is poorly named. A re-reading of the rules suggests that this is more an “attack of opportunity” than a “sneaky attack”.
Sneak Attack will apply to most rogue attacks, provided that the rogue is attacking a creature that is either currently engaged in fighting someone else OR the rogue has hidden themselves from combat from a particular creature and re-emerged to make a strike.
GM’s Note: It seems to me that the rules suggest a rogue cannot be stationary for very long in combat, or it will lose the ability to make this strike for the extra damage.

Miscellaneous
Healing Potions:
These will do 2d4 + 2 healing instead of 1d8 + 2 (effectively raises the minimum heal) per the rule book.

Group Ability Checks:
These will no longer be partial pass/fail where certain members of the group pass and others fail. IE only a few of you hear/see something coming. Instead, everyone will roll on the ability check (using their modifiers where applicable). If half of the group or more succeeds, the group succeeds. Otherwise, the group fails.

Final Notes
This list is not comprehensive, but are the top things that I think will move us in a more fun direction as we finish up Hoard of the Dragon Queen and move into the Rise of Tiamat adventure!

If there is something about YOUR class that you feel needs to be tweaked or something I can do to make the game fun for you, please let me know!

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Drakes, Dragons, and Cultists
The Dragon Hatchery

[This adventure spans over two sessions]

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Drakes, Dragons, and Cultists

After the adventure in the raiders camp, the group rests in the town of Greenest where Leosin is recovering from his injuries sustained from his time in captivity in the Raiders Camp. Sometime in the early morning while the players are discussing their recent exploits, Leosin approaches them and requests their help to return to the cultists’ camp and determine if and when the cult will strike again.

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Reluctantly (at least until they are offered a suitable amount of gold), the adventurers accept the mission. Leosin tells the group to meet him in the city of Elturel when they have completed their investigation, where he will reward them 400 gold each. At this point, Ghotex also recruited a new member to join his religion their group: Lia

Before leaving Greenest, the group manages to make a few “deals” with the local merchants in order to outfit themselves for the adventure. [If you’ve never clicked one of the Wiki links in the adventure posts before, you’ll definitely want to check out “deals”]

Upon arriving back at the cultists’ camp, the group finds it almost completely abandoned and disassembled, except for a few hunters. When the adventurers approach the hunters, they don’t seem to be very interested in helping supply any information about where the cultists went, if they even knew at all. However, they do let the group know that inside the cave a few raiders remain, namely the “Wearer of Purple”, the dragon-man, and some dragon-dogs". Unsatisfied with the lack of information, Miri and Ghotex “dispatch” the hunters.

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Step right up, get yer hidey-holes!

The group spends the next two days delving into the cave behind the raiders’ camp: The Dragon Hatchery. The first day, Gerndar mostly spends his time in his hidey-hole, while the rest of the group [pictured] starts making their way through the cave complex.

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At this point in the story, the narrator stopped doing a good job of remembering details, so he’s going to go over the highlights:


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Rare photo of Bob before smashing a dragon egg

  • The group clears two dragonclaws that were trying to stalk them from the cave entrance
  • Gerndar entered his hidey-hole
  • The adventurers find the barracks where several guards are located and managed to miraculously sneak past their door. Several times. Without being heard.
  • The group finds the [mostly empty] treasure store and a sleeping cultist (whom Lia had no problem slitting his throat and playing in his blood)
  • The adventurers made it through a cavern of glowing fungus, which miraculously nobody tried to ingest
  • With uncanny stealth yet again, the group managed to sneak through a lair of stirges and bats
  • Ghotex and Lia sifted through huge piles of shit garbage, fought smelly troglodytes, and endangered the entire group over what turned out to be awesome treasure old belt buckles. Oh, and a few gems.
  • The group found a smelly meat locker guarded by unbeatable fish hooks on leather strips, and fought two guard drakes before rushing unprepared into the kobold barracks
  • The adventurers fell asleep in these barracks, presumably from drunkenness exhaustion
  • They started out the next day well, by triggering a trap on a stairwell before Gerndar decided to be brave and fight the “dragon-man” head on
  • The group found “Rob the Roper” and Ghotex managed to lead him away and down the hall away from the group, but not before Bob and Lia fought those dastardly fish-hooks again to acquire some tantalizing rotten meat
  • Ghotex managed to break open a dragon egg and kill a baby dragon
  • Bob smashed the two remaining eggs with his massive pe hammer
  • The group manages to miraculously sneak past the well trained guards yet again and make it back to Greenest before passing out from exhaustion drunkenness

Fin.

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Big Damn Heros

When we last saw our adventurers, they were wrapping up about to take a long rest after a hard night’s work in their newfound adventures in the town of Greenest. When they awake several hours later, they are greeted by Governor Nighthill himself who thanks them for their service and genuinely seems interested in getting to know the group better. As it turns out, he was really just prodding to see if he could entrust a dangerous mission to the group, which he finally decides that he can do.

nesim.jpg Before the group is even finished discussing the prospect of the mission, a wounded monk by the name of Nessim Waladra approaches the group and explains his dire situation. Being too injured himself to travel, Nessim asks the adventurers if he could help find his master, Leosin Erlanthar. He suspects that Leosin may have either perished in the fighting of the previous night or perhaps even been taken prisoner by the cultists.

The group makes final arrangements with Nessim and Governor Nighthill by way of securing two health potions a piece and a promise of a 250 gold pieces per member reward for successfully completing the Governor’s quest of obtaining more information about the raiders who sacked Greenest. Bob requests a pair of boots from the guard supplies for the trip and Ghotex adamantly demands nipple armor for added protection and both requests are granted by the generosity of the townsfolk.

The group makes easy work of tracking the raiders South out of the city through the grassland that extends beyond the town and follows the trail for several hours before reaching a more rugged region where steep-sided, rocky plateaus replaced the gently rolling hills. An obvious plume of smoke was coming up from a canyon ahead, so the group slowly sneaked forward to try and see what was around the corner. Ghotex the Observant wandered right into the open, but Miri snatched him just in time and pulled him back into the corridor, throwing him on his back.

After observing the several guards and kobolds around the corner for a few minutes, the group decided to attack – these were obviously stragglers who were slow in making their way back to the raider’s camp. Several swift javelin throws, roaring charges, and misplaced fireballs into Bob’s back later, the adventurers emerged victorious!

Gerndar.jpgAfter a short rest, the group trudged onward, following the dusty footprints to the South. The nimble cleric Ghotex tried to make his way up the side of a rocky plateau to get a vantage point over the terrain, but lost his footing and fell, but not before loosing his nipple to the side of the cliff because his demanded nipple armor was snagged on a rock.

I know, I’m still laughing too.

Instead, the ever-brave Gerndar steped into the fray and easily scaled up the side of the cliff and noticed an ambush around a bend ahead. With a bit of quick thinking, the agile Ghotex got to climbing again, this time successfully to the top, and worked his way closer to the cultist ambush. A quick touch of Inflict Wounds ended a cultist hiding behind a rock, which enabled Ghotex to quickly disguise himself with his kit and assume the role of a cultist.

I believe the following pictures accurately describe what happened next:

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Cleric disguise

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Cleric gestures

And thus, the ambushers went on their merry way, never knowing that they were leading the group of adventurers directly to the camp.

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Upon arriving at the camp, the group is immediately questioned by a group of guards posted near the entrance. With a bit of quick thinking (and a twisted smirk that some of the group noticed), Miri excused herself to the guard tent to exercise her feminine wiles. Not satisfied with an easy outcome, Ghotex bursts into the tent and demands the name and rank of every soldier in the tent – at which time the agitated and slightly worked up guards arrest the group on the spot and escort them to a tent where they are bound near another prisoner.

frulam.jpg A woman dressed in purple quickly enters the tent upon their being bound. She introduces herself as Frulam Mondath and starts interrogating the adventurers one by one. However, she saw through all of their lies and sentenced each of them to die at sunrise in the morning.

leosin.jpg As luck would have it the prisoner next to the group is Leosin and though he is quite injured, he doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to escape from the raiders camp. After discussing at length an escape plan, the prisoners are able to unbind themselves using a pick that Leosin had in his boot and re-equip their gear before killing the two guards at the entrance of the tent and having Miri and Ghotex donning their wardrobes. Dressed as guards, the duo march the prisoners right out the front gate, explaining that they are on their way to execute the prisoners by order of Frulam Mondath.

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The group makes it the rest of the way back to Greenest relatively easily and is quickly greeted by Governor Nighthill upon their arrival. After filling him in with all of the details they learned from Leosin about the raiders, he is elated and publicly announces them as the Heroes of Greenest – as well as awarding them their promised 250 gold pieces each.

And thus, our heroes settle in for a well deserved rest. Perhaps soon the townspeople will erect statues in their honor.

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The Beginning

A group of four adventurers awake to find that they are alone in the woods. All they remember is that they were guards for a travelling caravan on the way to the town of Greenest. They gather their wits after waking up and find that they have been robbed of all of their money and presumably left for dead.

The adventurers quickly band together and take to the stream as they approach Greenest – a city under siege by a dragon and cultists roaming the streets. They befriend a local commoner – Linan – a woman trying to save her three small children and husband from the attack. Ghotex made her a beacon of hope (literally, by casting the Light spell on her) for the townspeople as they made their way towards the city’s keep seeking safe haven from the ongoing siege.

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After several daring encounters with kobolds and cultists along the way, the group makes their way to the keep -along with a fair amount of villagers that they met along the way. The group makes it just in time before raiders surround the keep, making entry and exit impossible through the front gate.

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Once in the keep, they are introduced to the governor [Tarbaw Nightfall] who asks them to help conduct missions while his militia is busy saving townsfolk from the raiders and keeping the attacking blue dragon at bay. The party agrees and takes on the first mission of clearing out an old tunnel leading from the cellar to the river/stream. The party makes their way through the tunnel, defeating two swarms of rats [and a rusty gate] to their destination. Upon bursting through the rusty gate, the party is ambushed by a group of kobolds and cultists, which they promptly dispatch.

The party makes their way back into the keep and the governor thanks them for their service. He asks them to go retrieve a prisoner to interrogate that they may learn who is behind the raid on the city and why. Ghotex must rest, so the rest of the group heads out of the secret tunnel on a mission to find someone to interrogate, leaving their cleric to rest. They barely make it out of the tunnel before a guard runs down the tunnel behind them and tells them that they have heard that the mill is under attack and must be defended.

The group travels down the river towards the mill and once there, Miri disguises herself as a cultist to go get a closer look at what is going on. The mill is surrounded by six kobolds who are lighting fires, clearly in an attempt to lure the adventurers into a trap. Miri returns to the group and informs them of the trap, so they decide to leave. They make it down the river back towards the keep when they hear a group of people up the steep river bank. They decide to sneak up the bank as quietly as possible – except that Gerndar‘s version of ’stealth’ is yelling “STEALTH!!” at the top of his lungs while moving up the river bank.

In a moment of quick decision, Gerndar casts a sound illusion causing the group of raiders to be distracted long enough for Miri to charm the guard (who is surrounded by four cultists). Upon killing 3 cultists, a badly wounded 4th cultist begs for his life. Through ‘interrogation’, the group learns that the raiders are part of something called the ‘Cult of Dragons’ and they are looking for a magical artifact. Ultimately unhappy with the cultists’ answers, they decide to kill him with a swing from Bob’s mighty warhammer.

The party makes it’s way back to the keep with the charmed guard in tow where he is easily tied up and tortured, but not before the guard is convinced to give Bob his chain shirt and shield. The party learns that the cultists are searching for an item of magical importance that will fill the hoard for the ‘Queen of Dragons’ return. They also learn that the cult has secured several dragon eggs that are stored in a tunnel near the raiders camp.

Finally, the governor comes to the group and thanks them for a job well done and for saving countless lives during the attack. He offers them food, rest, and 140 gold pieces (35 each) for helping Greenest in its time of need.

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