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Barney’s Adventures: A Close November 10, 2009

Posted by elopingcamel in 4e, Barney's Adventures, DM, Narrative.
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I am going to write this from the retconned perspective that the only adventurers to enter or fight in the cave were our 3 heroes and Clarence, Barney’s man-servant. Also, it has been many months since this was actually played and I am having to rely entirely on my poor excuse for a memory. So this will be more summary than play-by-play. It should also be noted that I am combining the events of two game nights into one narrative.

What Happened

The Cave Entrance – The heroes found their way into the cave entrance behind the waterfall and gained a surprise attack on the few goblins there. As their skirmish escalated, the party could hear the very loud creaking of metal on rock, followed by the heavy footsteps of something obviously large. An orc captain came charging into the melee, giving the heroes their first taste of a sizable opponent (as opposed to foes whose strength came in their numbers). The fight dragged on for a while, but eventually the party dispatched their enemies and went down the passage from whence had come the orc.

Deeper into the Darkness – They found a large metal door leading into a system of well-constructed tunnels. They descended the stairs and entered a small cross section of the underground passages. They could hear some soft humming coming from behind one of the doors and cautiously approached. inside they found a small goblin humming and singing to himself as he gathered supplies from what was obviously a supply closet. They captured him and intimidated him into answering their questions. Despite his protests, they dragged him along behind them to guide them to the Dark Lady’s room, where she was holding the Bloodstone. With the goblin as their guide, they were able to bypass what would have surely been a grueling process of trial by elimination. The goblin led them directly and safely to the Dark Lady’s chambers. They crashed through the doors and began to battle the Dark Lady and her zombie minions.

The Final Battle – Things go decently well for the heroes at first, but it soon becomes apparent that the longer they stay there, the more danger they are in of being discovered and trapped–a few goblins had already heard the ruckus and come to investigate. Elfomoto decides that more direct measures are necessary. He finds enough space to make a quick sprint toward the Dark Lady, who is standing directly in front of the podium on which the Bloodstone rests, and successfully flips over her–dodging her attacks of opportunity–safely landing on the other side of the podium. Using the podium itself as a shield from attacks, he safely uses some cloth to pick up and store the Bloodstone. The battle rages on with neither side making strong strides toward victory. In a moment of distraction, Elfomoto is able to quickly climb atop the podium and perform a similar move as the one that got him where he is, and he gracefully flips over danger, narrowly missing the numerous swinging blades of his foes. He lands safely and yells to his comrades that they should flee.

A Sad Farewell – A few members of the party are pretty badly wounded by this point. Barney is very close to death and Clarence even more near that black end. Carlsberg and Elfomoto begin to make their retreat, helping Barney as best they can, but it soon becomes apparent that Clarence is unable to keep pace with them. Barney tried to get back to help him, but watches as his man-servant is cut down. Barney is heartbroken and fires off one last killing spell, buying time for him and his friends to flee down the hall and out of the tunnels. The three heroes return the Bloodstone, claim their reward, and Barney mourns the loss of his friend and slave. His indomitable spirit won’t stay down long, though… He already has plans for getting a better servant in the future.

Thoughts

This was the last night that my step-brother had to play before heading out-of-state for college. What happened well is that we had fun. What could have been better was for me to not try to put so much into that final session. I had tons of fun treasures and surprises for them to discover during their search of the underground lair. However, due to time constraints, most of those plans were basically set aside or left ignored. This makes me sad not because I felt like my hard work had gone unappreciated (which is a common frustration for DMs I have read–and therefore expect to experience), but because better planning could have let them discover these things in conjunction with their more direct approach to the game.

They didn’t even have or take the time to loot the bodies of the dead goblins, so even if I had been smart enough to just drop that treasure/loot in at the end, they didn’t stay long enough to grab it.

The truth is that I am not too worried because I don’t think the players know that they have not been receiving as much loot as is probably considered “standard” in the world of D&D. However, I do want to make sure that they are getting enough incentives to develop their characters. My hope is to incorporate their getting better treasure into the plotlines and hooks so they feel some real accomplishment in upgrading.

What I am proud of is that my first time running 4e I did not have to rely on pre-made adventures. I actually want to try one, but I may wait until I start school again to do that, just because I have the time to plan some good ones while I am out of school right now.

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