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The Brotherhood: Session 1 November 16, 2009

Posted by elopingcamel in 4e, DM, Narrative, The Brotherhood.

Background Info

The basic story I have going for my players is that a wizard named Vellan the Mulleted (this picture doesn’t do that mullet justice; it is beautiful) has contacted each of them, recruiting them to join his secret band of do-gooders. His friend Douven Staul has been missing for a month now and he is hoping that these young heroes will be able to locate Douven, proving themselves worthy in the process.

Vellan also requested, as a personal favor to him, that the party help escort a half-orc merchant named Korg (idea stolen from here) to Winterhaven and assure his safe passage to and arrival there. Korg is a semi-crippled, trade-goods wagoneer and hardly worth anything in a fight. His half-full cart was drawn by a single large horse.

The party tonight consisted of four level one characters:

  • Carlsberg Torres (male human ranger with sub-class feat of rogue) who prefers to use throwing daggers/knives and attack from afar.
  • Joan Padraig, eldest daughter of Ernest and Vanessa Padraig (idea also stolen and then adapted from here – female human warlord with the inspire build). She ran away from home at the age of 16, so this will be her first trip back home in three years.
  • Phillip Rivers (yes, named after the quarterback) is the wizard of the party (female eladrin wizard, control build).
  • Perrywinkle is the last of the party (male eladrin swordmage, aegis of assault).

The couple playing the two eladrin are married to each other in real life. They played two sessions of the 3.5e Basic Game with me last year. This was their first time with 4e and third time playing D&D ever. They did very well. My wife played Joan and this was easily the most excited I have ever seen her for any semblance of back story or character development.

Combat Highlight

The party began getting ambushed by those dirty little kobolds. Carlsberg was up front and center for the initial kobold minion charge. Two of them hit him, decently damaging him before any PCs had a turn. Phillip was the furthest back and decided to play it safe by climbing a nearby tree. She then sent out a spell of icy terrain to hurt the kobolds and knock them prone (not knowing that they only had 1 hp). Unfortunately Carlsberg was standing in that burst as well. He was hit, suffering max damage, and knocked prone from the spell. Then, by the end of the round, the kobold slinger launched his gluepot at Carlsberg, immobilizing him. It was certainly a rough round for Mr. Torres. Yet, he survived it alright, laying a pretty nasty smackdown on some kobolds before all was said and done.

The Skill Challenge

The idea behind this one was simply that the heroes were to get Korg and his goods safely to Winterhaven. They did, therefore I gave them 75 XP (It was 3 successes before 3 failures in the end, which is less than Complexity 1). The kobold slinger–who was mercilessly being attacked by Perrywinkle–thought to escape by creating some confusion. He launched a firepot at the horse attached to Korg’s wagon. The firepot landed at the horse’s feet, causing the horse to rear back and then bolt forward, heading directly up the old King’s Road toward the heroes and the last kobold dragonshield.

Phillip, still hiding out about 10′ up in the tree, attempted to leap out onto the horse. Due to a low roll but clever story-telling/role-playing by the girl playing Phillip, we decided that she panicked at the last minute and spun around, grabbing the branch again. The rest of her turn was spent letting go of the branch and falling to the ground. This of course was the first failure in the skill challenge.

A whole round went by as the other heroes finished off the last two kobolds (the dragonshield’s head being lopped off by Joan and Periwinkle’s ferocious stabbing in the back of the slinger as it tried to flee) The cart continued forward, gaining speed just a few feet away from crashing into Joan and Carlsberg. Phillip ran alongside the cart, jumping/climbing atop it and grabbing the reins from the fairly useless Korg. This was the first success. Next, Joan leaped directly onto the horse’s back (she rolled a very high athletics check) to help rein it in. This was the second success. I counted the destruction of the kobolds as the third success and decided that it wasn’t worth dragging out that little scene any further. So I gave them some XP for successfully defending Korg and his goods upon their reaching the town of Winterhaven.

I really like the idea of the skill challenge. I can tell that I’ll need more time to get the kinks straightened out, but I thought it was a great way to add a different element to the encounter so the battle didn’t have to drag out as long. It also gave Phillip–who had not played as large a role in the fighting after the first round–a chance to shine and flex her creative muscles. I think she enjoyed that part of the game the most.

As far as XP goes, I am not sure if I short-changed them. It seemed like the skill challenge was a pretty easy one, so I didn’t think it was deserving of a ton of XP, but I want to reward the girls especially for stepping up to the role playing table and doing a great job. Any thoughts on how much XP should be awarded in this situation?

To End

The party arrived in Winterhaven as the sun was setting. The guards began to question them until one of them noticed the Lady Joan Padraig, returned home after 3 years of absence. He directed the other heroes to Wrafton’s Inn and we closed down shop for the night.



1. elopingcamel - November 16, 2009

An idea:

Perhaps the reward for the girls could be that above and beyond the lavish praise that Korg heaps on the PCS (to the townspeople), he goes out of his way to make sure that everyone knows that it was the girls who really saved the day at the end.

This could reward the girls both by allowing them to receive the goodwill (read lower prices) of the people. It could also set up more role playing situations as townspeople actively seek to engage in discussion with them.

Of course another option is to say, “Last game, you girls did such a good job of role playing that I want to award some bonus XP to you for it.”


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