[WotD] OOC Prologue

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Cronono
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[WotD] OOC Prologue

The PCs are selected to attend the drow wake being held underneath the Outpost. This prologue should provide the players the opportunity to experiment with 5e systems. All PCs created for the purposes of this prologue may be completely rewritten after the prologue.

We begin our prologue in a socially awkward situation for our PCs. As the purpose of this scene is to familiarize our players with some of the basics of 5e mechanics, a number of ways to Make Friends and Influence Drow are available. The less regal drow to the west are engaged in lower class tasks, such as arm wrestling, Spiderfighting, drinking contests, tug-of-war with a massive silk rope, and a game that looks similar to darts but is played with javelins and requires someone to hold the target. The gallant drow to the east are engaged in more refined tasks, such as religious debate, Poison Tasting, musical performance, ballroom dance, and politics.

For purposes of this prologue, don't worry about your character sheet being complete. Simply state what your character would like to do and we'll discuss the mechanics.

Edited by: Cronono on 01/09/2018 - 16:45
MinusInnocence
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Caleb isn't peeking over anyone's shoulder or leaning too close while nonchalantly looking the other way. He's really just moving from group to group taking in whatever he can and offering cordial responses when appropriate. I think starting off with Insight might be helpful before jumping with both feet into a social encounter.

Insight (proficient)
I rolled 1d20+5, the result is 20, 5 = 25.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Cronono
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That's a great roll to start a campaign!

With Caleb's passive insight of a 15, Caleb is able to figure out the following:

The drow are generally distrusting of the PCs and the Fourty guardsmen.

The drow are generally distrusting of each other.

There is one drow among the low-brow who is actually a highborne and trying to fit in. It does not appear as though he has been caught.

There are three drow among the highborne who are actually thieves in the middle of looking for marks.

His passive insight gives him all that without a roll, and therefore without spending an action. We're not in combat, but something to keep in mind for later. With his superlative roll, Caleb also gets the following:

One of the spider tamers appears to be looking to the audience for a signal of some kind.

One of the contestants at the drinking contest is a ringer.

There are two highborne priestesses arguing some obscure detail of their faith that has both of them extremely agitated. However, both are very, very good at hiding their true feelings and appear to be getting along famously. It is probable that the taller one intends to murder the shorter one.

Simon Kendarr is being observed by no fewer than six drow. Four of the low-class drow are eyeing him up maliciously, one highborne is gazing at him longingly, and one highborne appears to be looking for some sort of cue from him.

Dafyd
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Bored with the usual keeping up with appearances, Charn will try his hand at the tug of war game. I'm guessing this is a proficiency check for Athletics?

Athletics Check.
I rolled 1d20+5, the result is 13, 5 = 18.
Cronono
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That's right. It is a Strength(Athletics) check, so you add 1d20 plus your strength mod. If you are proficient in athletics, you also add your proficiency mod of (+2) at level 1.

Below, please find the tug of war result for Charn's first challenger.

I rolled 1d20+2, the result is 20, 2 = 22.
Cronono
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Charn isn't out of it yet, but he has found a very strong elf! Does Charn want to continue competing?

Dafyd
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Yes. And Charn feels Inspired by this elf's tenacity!

I rolled 1d20+5, the result is 18, 5 = 23.
MinusInnocence
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I think I will try to pass along the information I've uncovered to whichever PCs are not as preoccupied as Charn. Then I want to make my way over to the two priestesses who secretly want to murder each other. I would like to make a Religion check first to demonstrate my own understanding of the argument they're engaged in, and from there I hope to make a Persuasion roll to win the argument for one of them.

Religion (proficient)
I rolled 1d20+2, the result is 18, 2 = 20.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
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Rolling Persuasion now.

Persuasion (proficient)
I rolled 1d20+4, the result is 2, 4 = 6.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
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R.I.P., Caleb.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Cronono
Cronono's picture

@Dafyd
Inspiration is a pretty cool mechanic, and I'm psyched you're using it here. For the folks who don't know, in 5e characters can have a spendable resource called Inspiration. You either have Inspiration, or you don't. When you spend Inspiration on a challenge before you roll, you get advantage on the roll. That means you roll twice and take the better result. Obviously, you're probably not going to roll better than your 18, but go ahead and roll again for Charn's strength!

@MinusInnocence
When @deadDMwalking and @Nofortunateone join, we'll assume their characters get the information that you've passed on. The good news is that your RP for rolling so poorly earns you inspiration - you've got it for when you want to spend it!

Dafyd
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And again!

I rolled 1d20+5, the result is 18, 5 = 23.
Cronono
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And for Grestlemir?

How strong is he?
I rolled 1d20+2, the result is 11, 2 = 13.
MinusInnocence
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Caleb will try to single out one of the other thieves (not the one who is pretending to be a Baenre son) and make a Persuasion check to get him to target the nobleman attempting to blend in with the rougher crowd on the other side of the room. Caleb doesn't generally condone thievery, but he likes liars even less.

Persuasion
I rolled 1d20+4, the result is 12, 4 = 16.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Cronono
Cronono's picture

This action is funny for a couple of different reasons.

There are two rolls below. One, a persuasion check, is to counter Caleb's efforts. The other is an insight check, to see if the thief actually does catch Caleb's meaning, or if he catches a completely different meaning which is strongly supported by context clues Caleb doesn' yet have.

I rolled 1d20+1, the result is 10, 1 = 11.
I rolled 1d20+3, the result is 10, 3 = 13.
Cronono
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@Dafyd - is Charn going for the win by winning 2 out of 3?

Dafyd
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He is!

I rolled 1d20+5, the result is 8, 5 = 13.
Cronono
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Let's see how Grestlemir does, shall we?

Strong like a skinny elf!
I rolled 1d20+2, the result is 19, 2 = 21.
Cronono
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Dude, you got totally screwed by rolls.

deadDMwalking
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I've ordered my PHB. It cost $50 at the bookstore and only $30 at Amazon, so I won't have it right away. I'm pretty sure that I'll be a charismatic Tiefling warlock, so undoubtedly he plans to arrive fashionably late. In fact, he's probably getting liquored up in the stable or snorting white powder in the men's room.

Cronono
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That'll be fun. Have you decided which type of warlock you'll be?

deadDMwalking
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I don't know my options yet. But I think I'm going to base the character off of Harry Ellis from Die Hard. But not a total ass.

MinusInnocence
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He had such nice teeth.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Cronono
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Your pact describes the otherworldly entity with whom you made your deal for power. It is separate and apart from how your power manifests. The PHB gives you three choices:

Infernal Pact (Devils and Demons)
Fey Pact (Those damnable Fairies)
Great Old One Pact (Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.)

There are other permissible pacts, including one from the UAs:

The Raven Queen (Embodiment of Death)
https://media.wizards.com/2017/dnd/downloads/20170213_Wizrd_Wrlck_UAv2_i48nf.pdf

The other pacts are in sourcebooks.
SCAG has the Undying pact (Undeath), Xanathar's has the Celestial (Angels), and the Hexblade (A metaphysical force deriving power from a weapon).

deadDMwalking
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I think I will be choosing an Infernal Pact. Being a Tiefling and having ties to the wrong side of the Blood War can make people suspicious of me. I think I want to be used to being distrusted and proving people wrong (or am I just playing the long con?).

Cronono
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That's awesome. Any devil or demon in the traditional Blood War cosmology works except for Orcus, who is dead. Mammon survived. Feel free to also choose a lesser devil or demon. I would avoid making a pact with something too lowly as Lemures, Imps, and Quasits.

A note on pacts - the religions of The Empire don't worship the Gods and Deities of ordinary DnD pantheons. Instead, they worship the forces of civilizations (or, anarchy). Resultingly, your pact with a devil/demon is either relatively recent or fairly heretical. Public perception of your character in the world is something akin to an analogous world where Christians, Jews, and Muslims dominate and you made a deal with the ruling Atlantean Council to promulgate their mindwaves throughout the Ether. You'd be a weirdo.

Your cocaine habit is up to you.

deadDMwalking
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I don't intend to announce my pact to everyone I meet. "Hi, I'm John Smith, in the service of Satan." Also, I expect to be actively planning on avoiding the consequences of my pact like any demonologist does. I clearly think I'm smart enough to outwit a devil... Of course, that relies on actually reading about pacts in detail.

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Put another way, you negotiate million-soul pacts for breakfast?

I just watched the episode of "An Idiot Abroad" where he meets the folks who thinks the Pyramids were built by Atlanteans. Something about that seems very warlocky to me.

Warlocky is a word.

deadDMwalking
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Maybe I'll tell people that Tieflings can make a pact with themselves. It's a bizarre result of their heritage. I don't know how many people can be SURE that it isn't true. 'My great-grandfather was an arch-duke of hell, so I was born with horns and infernal powers. What, you think I was born with horns but NOT infernal powers? That'd by pretty sucky.'

Cronono
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The best news is that you can back all of that up. The excerpts below are the racial powers of Tieflings, which are explored in the 5e SRD.

-----------------------
Darkvision: Thanks to your infernal heritage, you have superior vision in dark and dim Conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in Darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in Darkness, only shades of gray.

Hellish Resistance: You have Resistance to fire damage.

Infernal Legacy. You know the Thaumaturgy cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Hellish Rebuke spell as a 2nd-level spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a Long Rest. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the Darkness spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a Long Rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these Spells.
--------------

Below is the Thaumaturgy cantrip, as posted in the 5e SRD.

--------------
Thaumaturgy

You manifest a minor wonder, a sign of supernatural power, within range. You create one of the following magical effects within range.

• Your voice booms up to three times as loud as normal for 1 minute.

• You cause flames to flicker, brighten, dim, or change color for 1 minute.

• You cause harmless tremors in the ground for 1 minute.

• You create an Instantaneous sound that originates from a point of your choice within range, such as a rumble of thunder, the cry of a raven, or ominous whispers.

• You instantaneously cause an unlocked door or window to fly open or slam shut.

• You alter the appearance of your eyes for 1 minute.

If you cast this spell multiple times, you can have up to three of its 1-minute effects active at a time, and you can dismiss such an effect as an action.
------------

Below is the Hellish Rebuke spell, as posted in the 5e SRD.

------------

You point your finger, and the creature that damaged you is momentarily surrounded by hellish flames. The creature must make a Dexterity saving throw. It takes 2d10 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d10 for each slot level above 1st.

-------------

In short, you do have obvious infernal powers.

deadDMwalking
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I just got my book today. Family movie time, but I'll be moving on this this weekend.

Cronono
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There is an optional rule we'll be using in this campaign about proficiency with profession kits. If you are proficient in both a skill and profession kit that applies to a roll, then you have advantage on the roll. Again, advantage is rolling 2d20 and taking the better result. Advantage doesn't stack, so you can't have triple advantage, for example. You either have advantage, or you don't.

@deadDMwalking, please make an Intelligence(Investigation) roll, with advantage.

Cronono
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Nothing to see here.

Just odds and ends.
I rolled 1d20+4, the result is 5, 4 = 9.
I rolled 1d20, the result is 4 = 4.
I rolled 1d20+3, the result is 5, 3 = 8.
I rolled 1d20, the result is 14 = 14.
Cronono
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Additionally, Able notices that Charn's walking companion just slipped something into his pocket.

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Panic begins to spread among the non-combatant drow as the spidermaster loses control of the monstrosity! We're moving now into a skill challenge.

Below, please find some rules for a completely unrelated skill challenge. This skill challenge follows a similar set of rules, and it is easy for me to copy and paste this one I found online today.

Spoiler: Highlight to view

This skill challenge involves the players attempting to reach a small island in the middle of a frozen lake that happens to be inhabited by a great, hungry beast. Atop the small island in the middle I've put a Staff of Frost and the monster will be a modified purple worm with cold immunity and a cold breath weapon.

To make this challenge usable for all levels, I'll refer to each DC as "Easy", "Moderate" or "Hard". Use the tables below and swap out the treasure and monster to make this challenge appropriate for any level.

Character Level Easy Moderate Hard
1st - 4th 12 16 20
5th - 10th 13 17 21
11th - 16th 14 18 22
17th - 20th 16 20 24
Arctic Lake Skill Challenge
Success: 8 successes before 3 failures. The party retrieves the item from the lake and returns to shore safely.

Partial Success: 4 successes before 3 failures. The party retrieves the item from the lake, but now must fight the worm on the island.

Failure: 3 failures before 4 successes. The party has alerted or angered the worm and must now fight it in the middle of the frozen lake.

Engaging the Beast. Your party may decide the skill challenge is not worth the trouble and attempt to engage the beast directly. If a player attacks the creature, abandon the skill challenge and roll initiative.

Skill checks
Mandatory Check: The party is quite literally on thin ice. At the start of each turn, the character must succeed on a Moderate Acrobatics check to avoid falling through the ice. On a failure, the character has disadvantage on their check this turn as they scramble to safety. Failing by 5 or more causes the character to slip into the frigid lake, taking 2d4 cold damage. Success or failure on this check does not contribute to the total number of success or failures in the skill challenge.

The Hunter. Assign a number to each party member. At the top of the entire round, roll a d20. If the rolled number matches a player's assigned number, the beast erupts through the ice at their feet on their turn, raising their Acrobatics check to Hard. The beast remains surfaced until the end of the round, assessing its potential prey.

Suvival; Easy DC; Max 2 successes. You move cautiously across the ice, carefully testing for weaknesses as you go.

Perception; Easy DC; Max 2 successes. You spot a thick patch of ice that should be safe to cross. On a success, you have advantage on your next Acrobatics check to avoid falling through the ice.

Perception; Moderate DC; Assist. Strain your senses to listen for cracks in the ice. Grants an ally advantage on their next Acrobatics check to avoid falling through the lake. Success or failure on this check does not contribute to the total number of successes or failures in the skill challenge.

Athletics; Moderate DC; Max 2 successes. You find a small stone on the lake and hurl it far from you and your allies, distracting the worm temporarily. On a success, the worm immediately surfaces at a safe distance and remains their until the end of the round.

Insight or Nature; Moderate DC. Requires that the beast is surfaced. You use your intuition or bestial knowledge to read the worm's behaviour and safely move away from it (and toward the goal) without provoking it further.

Animal Handling; Moderate DC; Max 1 success. Requires that the beast is surfaced. You attempt to calm the beast, allowing you to move safely past it.

Initmidate; Hard DC; Max 1 success. Requires that the beast is surfaced. You attempt to frighten the beast and use the opening to move safely past it.

Now, the PCs have a different set of circumstances which involve dealing with a freaked out army of drow and a murderous giant spider. If you propose a skill and what you'd like to do with it, I'll let you know whether it is easy, medium, or hard DC.

We're in a pseudo-initiative now, which is to say that you guys all go, in whatever order you prefer, then you will all go again. This is helpful for stacking people with poor rolls toward the end of the initiative count and hopefully getting successes before their failures cause the party to trip up.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

I guess I'm trying Investigation.

+1 Int, +2 Proficiency...
I rolled 1d20+3, the result is 10, 3 = 13.
Cronono
Cronono's picture

The good news is that I get to give you the difficulty before you roll - so you won't be stuck with that 13.

Investigation is the skill that represents learning more about things you already know about. This is the CSI team back in the lab skill. Perception is the skill that represents learning more about things you can't see. This is the CSI at the crime scene skill.

In play, you use Perception to find traps/secret doors/sneaky rogues, while Investigation lets you discern how the trap works/how to trigger the door/examine the rogue for the crest of his guild. If you want to use Investigation in order to look through some of the clues you have and figure out connections, that would be an Investigation roll. In this circumstance, that's hard - Abel is surrounded by agitated drow in a dark cave with a bloodthirsty giant spider.

Alternately, feel free to use any of the clues provided elsewhere in this thread - you get those without a roll. Let me know if you want to try to make the hard Investigation roll, or if you want to use another skill.

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

I will make a Perception check. Mostly, Caleb wants to keep an eye on the Drow surrounding the priestesses, still wary that another would-be cutpurse might swoop in to snatch something from them. But he's also no dummy, and wants to keep the giant spider in his field of vision in case a path between it and himself suddenly opens up and he becomes its next meal.

Perception
I rolled 1d20+3, the result is 19, 3 = 22.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Well, I suspect you're going to keep that roll, even though you can ask for the difficulty before you make it. As a note, the Perception check was hard. You're dealing with a room full of freaked out drow and looking around the room doesn't do much to solve either the panicked masses or the spider problem. That said, you rolled really well and still contributed.

I'll post the details of what Caleb saw at the end of the round. We're still waiting on Charn, and possibly a different action from Able. I haven't heard back from NoFortunateOne, so we're not waiting on him to proceed.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

I'd prefer to use a skill I have proficiency in - in part just to become more familiar with them.

Deception, Intimidation, Investigation, Slight of Hand

I'm wondering if I can use Intimidation - something like "Act like you have a spine - your enemies are watching you."

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Sure. There are a couple of good intimidation targets here - you could intimidate the other members of the Fourty into directly confronting the spider, you could intimidate some of the drow guards to assist, and the party does have a couple of clues about what could have caused the spider to go wild as it is. Using intimidate, you could also intimidate the right people to get very helpful results.

Given the emotional turmoil in the room, I would imagine intimidate would be very easy to use to make some forward progress on the skill challenge.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

I would like to Intimidate some Drow Guards. I'm just rolling the d20 - I'm not sure of the bonus.

Able bellows in a commanding voice, "You there - put that beast down. If you can't control the pets you brought we're going to have to establish order. It won't be pleasant if it comes to that."

Intimidate
I rolled 1d20, the result is 11 = 11.
Cronono
Cronono's picture

For a skill check, you roll 1d20, then add the appropriate attribute. In this case, Charisma. If you are proficient in the appropriate skill, Intimidation here, then you also add your proficiency bonus.

Your proficiency bonus is a static number that is based on your character level. It starts at +2 at level 1, then improves to +3 at level 5, and so on.

Thus, you roll 1d20, add your charisma, and add your proficiency bonus. That's 11 (roll) + 3 (Abel's CHA) + 2 (Able is proficient and level 1). That's a net result of 16. You know that's a good contribution because it was defined as an Easy challenge.

Once we get an action from Charn, we'll proceed.

Nofortunateone
Nofortunateone's picture

I want to attack the spider! Kill!! Can I blaze over and aim for the legs?

Kill with da axe!
I rolled 1d20+ 5, the result is 13, 5 = 18.
I rolled 1d12+3, the result is 3, 3 = 6.
Cronono
Cronono's picture

You're welcome to do so, but that would mean the skill challenge is over with 2 successes. In skill challenge terms, that's the equivalent of abject failure. Would you like to end the skill challenge now?

Nofortunateone
Nofortunateone's picture

it probably isn't the smart thing to do. Sounds perfect for the character. He attacks!I rolled on the last post:

Kill with da axe!
I rolled 1d20+ 5, the result is 13, 5 = 18.
I rolled 1d12+3, the result is 3, 3 = 6.

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Sounds like a plan. The Barbarian attacks the giant spider in front of a room full of anxious drow mourners, murderous drow priestesses, and politically divided demon worshipers.

The attack succeeds. Everyone, please roll initiative.

Init for a number of drow, one giant spider, Yuson, and finally Kendarr
I rolled 1d20+2, the result is 8, 2 = 10.
I rolled 1d20+2, the result is 11, 2 = 13.
I rolled 1d20+2, the result is 7, 2 = 9.
I rolled 1d20+3, the result is 20, 3 = 23.
I rolled 1d20+3, the result is 7, 3 = 10.
I rolled 1d20+3, the result is 20, 3 = 23.
I rolled 1d20+3, the result is 3, 3 = 6.
I rolled 1d20+3, the result is 2, 3 = 5.
I rolled 1d20+3, the result is 20, 3 = 23.
I rolled 1d20+4, the result is 17, 4 = 21.
I rolled 1d20+5, the result is 5, 5 = 10.
Cronono
Cronono's picture

Oh dear.

Dafyd
Dafyd's picture

Charn Init

I rolled 1d20+1, the result is 13, 1 = 14.
Nofortunateone
Nofortunateone's picture

Roll initiative

I rolled 1d20, the result is 13 = 13.
Nofortunateone
Nofortunateone's picture

+1 I think

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