When I planned out the game for Saturday I thought it was actually doable. That the boys were capable of surviving it. I did not plan a TPK. I did realize that I had made it difficult. I did warn the boys beforehand that it was tough, and if they were not smart then bad things could happen.
It started out well for the boys. They fell into a desert cavern. But the fall was not terrible. And the poor giant constrictor snakes who were waiting were almost a trivial concern. I kind of felt sorry for the snakes with how quickly the party took care of them.
They found and followed what was the quickest way out of the cavern. I threw some wandering monsters at them just to see if it could slow them down. But it did not even dent them. In fact, they were almost out of the cavern entirely before their problem began.
Because it was at that point that they split up. Which is every GM’s favorite moment, when the party says: ‘let’s split up’. Because when the 2 members of the party walked into the Dragon’s den it was so much easier on the dragon. And it became even easier when one of those went invisible and decided that he did not want to fight the dragon at all. Which meant the dragon was able to handle things piecemeal.
Plus they were in the dragon’s lair which meant I got to play with the fun toys of 5th Ed lair actions. So a Young Dragon quickly became very very deadly. I had warned the boys, without going into detail, about fighting dragons in their lair. Instead of backing off, and making some smart decisions, they went at the dragon bit by bit. So it was very easy for the dragon to spread things out, breath weapon, physical attacks and did not have to split his attacks at all.
Even with all of that they had taken down more than 50% of the dragon’s hit points before they fell prey to the lightning breath. I told them that if they had gone in all together, and worked together, they could have defeated the dragon. I do not think that I gave them an impossible task, nor was it an inevitable TPK. Instead, it was a learning experience (hopefully.)
But they are all dead now. Which meant that later in the evening we spent some time working on their new characters. What is funny is that they are almost all back to playing the characters they played in our first campaign. A Paladin, Ranger, Sorcerer and Cleric. Depending on a few of their choices they could end up with a very light footed, stealthy party.
I am pretty excited for the potential this group will have. I took the time to model some of the basic recommended choices for each of their characters. I will give it to them as templates to then customize as they see fit. Simple things, like spell choices. It should help everyone out.
I can now begin my planning in earnest for the campaign. Although to call this a campaign is really stretching the definition of the term. I am not planning any major arcs. I will maybe develop some NPC’s for them to interact with. People to give them jobs, buy the stuff they ‘liberate’, and sell them ‘supplies’. That is something I need to get better at anyway so I need the practice. And working from major arcs is not really the boys strength anyway.
So farewell Rosaroca. I had fun with the setting. And if my Deadlands group decides they are ready for some D&D I have kept all my notes so I can start that one up again for adults. For now, it is on to Zendikar and adventure!