Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
The Favorites of Selune - Last Session

In the previous session the Favorites of Selune had fought their way through the troll warrens, uncharacteristically skipping an optional combat. That left them for this session with only the final boss fight of the dungeon left, against the troll king Skalmad. The fight was okay-ish, but in view of this being the end of the campaign I think I should have re-designed Skalmad instead of taking him as written from the King of Trollhaunt Warrens adventure.

Skalmad is a troll who found an artifact, a magical orb. A person can rip out his own eye and put the orb in, and that gives him access to some special powers. I loved the idea, but unfortunately didn't bother to playtest or re-read the powers in detail. And it turns out that in practice the eye wasn't all that great. It had one minor power that slowed a single character and prevented teleportation, but with a solid front adventurers vs. trolls movement wasn't much of an issue in the fight. And then there was one power that shot a sort of fireball, but only once per encounter. That made Skalmad mostly reliant on melee combat, and for some reason he was hitting less hard than the battle trolls of his entourage. Once I started I didn't "cheat" and upgrade Skalmad in the middle of the fight, but in the end I did wish I had prepared better and made my own version of the troll king with more impressive eye powers.

I guess that is a lesson on transitioning from one campaign to the next. The natural tendency is to be very excited about the new campaign, and that poses a risk of not properly ending the old one. But then I guess in the history of D&D there are far more campaigns that just somehow petered out than those who got a spectacular send-off at the end. With the Favorites of Selune having been an episodic campaign with no large story, there wasn't really much room for a great finale.

So, this was it for the Favorites of Selune, a campaign of just over 3 years. It taught us how to play Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition, and got us from level 1 to 11. I asked, and my players prefer 4th edition over other options, so the next campaign will use the same rules system, but use all Player's Handbooks, and not just the first one. And I'm hoping to improve on the role-playing part.

The new campaign will start slowly: One session to introduce the world of the Zeitgeist campaign, and then another session to create the characters. The idea is to first establish the campaign world, and what the general role of the group is in that game world, before creating the characters. I always felt that if you make a character before knowing anything about the world, you risk to end up with a background that doesn't really fit into the history of the world. One of the strong points of the Zeitgeist setting is that it provides character themes which are tailor-made to fit into the campaign. But for that to work, some knowledge of the world is necessary.

Cool. I found level 1-11 to be the sweet spot in 4th longest campaign made it to level 16 but the combats got to be really tedious. I'd probably happily run or play 4E in the heroic tier again (if anyone in my state played it, that is....sigh).
Enjoyed your write-ups enormously. 4e is a remarkably good system for this sort of campaign, and it sounds like your playground had fun.
A troll can have a problem with tearing its eye out. Because of regeneration, it would need to do it repeatedly. ;-)
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