D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 14 Recap

The party defeats the wereboar leader of Rivergard. A hidden stream leads to a lake with a shark-riding knight!

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Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

When we were running our Shadowrun campaign, I was able to do entire recap sessions to separate the individual missions or runs. This gave me a chance to elicit feedback from my players and breakdown what worked and what didn’t from both role-playing and technical points of view. Each run took 3-6 weeks, so we had these discussions at a nice pace.

While D&D Fifth Edition works much better for us overall, the campaigns are way longer. Our first, “The Lost Mine of Phandelver,” took four months. It’s looking like “Princes of the Apocalypse” will easily last us the rest of the year.

To compensate I’ve done little informal talks and breakdowns after our sessions and throughout the week. Since we’re all close friends I’m fortunate that I can pull back the curtain and discuss things a bit, while trying to avoid spoilers as best I can.

I’ve previously discussed my main problem with “Princes of the Apocalypse.” Its open world set-up and interconnected dungeons means player characters can (and likely will) stumble into higher level dungeons than they’re prepared for.

As my players pointed out after this session – continuing down that underground stream beneath Rivergard Keep seems like the bottom layer of that dungeon, and the natural next course of action. In reality it’s an entirely new dungeon – one that’s far bigger and several levels stronger than the Keep. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 14 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 13 Recap

Our heroes infiltrate Rivergard Keep via a captured boat. Their ambush quickly turns into a giant battle with the Keep’s forces.

Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

We had brought our characters from our first adventure, “The Lost Mine of Phandelver” over to “Princes of the Apocalypse.” This meant that my players were slightly over leveled for the beginning of this adventure. They hit level 5 soon after reaching Red Larch. Even skipping most of the newbie content, my players were over-leveled for the beginning of the main campaign (which is designed for level 3 heroes).

This hadn’t really been too noticeable until last night’s session at Rivergard Keep. I didn’t make any scaling adjustments. When the PCs sprung their ambush trap from the boat, the noise drew a large amount of defenders in the barracks. A long battle ensued, with dozens of combatants. Too bad Bandits really really suck. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 13 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 12 Recap

Our heroes defeat a group of pirates at Womford and travel up the Dessarin River toward Rivergard Keep.

Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Sometimes you have to scrap ideas even before they really start. If you’re DMing a game of your own creation you have to play the role of both designer and editor. You create the content, then constantly modify and tweak as your players mess with it.

By utilizing a pre-published adventure, the bulk of the design is already done for me. I primarily do the editing work, which leads to a lot of customization and changes based on what I and my players like to do in a tabletop game.

In this week the party made it to Bargewright Inn, which includes a low-level “Side Trek.” I like that “Princes of the Apocalypse” uses extra content that’s completely extraneous to the plot and fills out the Dessarin Valley area quite nicely.  Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 12 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 11 Recap

Our heroes finally get a chance to spend their hard-earned loot in Red Larch before taking the Cairn Road to Womford.

Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

We typically have our Dungeons & Dragons sessions filled with dungeon crawling and combat. But even the most video game-like D&D groups occasionally need a session to sell all their phat lootz.

With the heroes wanting to personally escrot the prisoners from the Sacred Stone Monastery to Red Larch, I decided it was a good time to provide them with ample options to spend their accumulated wealth.

D&D 5E solved the power-struggle quite elegantly with the Proficiency Bonus. The side effect is that magic items are no longer needed quite as much, and end up being more rare than ever before. Heroes still gain hundreds of gold after only a few sessions, however.

If you have a group that’s not particularly interested in the more esoteric role-playing side of RPGs, such as building castles or engaging in politics, it’s difficult to create a proper money sink. My personal solution was to allow them to purchase a few select magic items from their local Harper agent (Endrith Vallivoe), as well as potions of healing, greater healing, and even their own horses. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 11 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 10 Recap

The party finished clearing out the Sacred Stone Monastery using might, magic, and a little trickery.

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Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

A live DM can enhance a dungeon-crawling experience above a typical video game offering. The obvious example is a dungeon as a living ecosystem rather than a static area, waiting for the players to stumble into room-by-room.

In this week’s session our party cleaved a bloody path through the remainder of the Sacred Stone Monastery. They traveled West past the original entrance and worked a large circle through the kitchens, shrine, and courtyard in the North.

Last week they were quite proficient at stealthily ambushing the monks. This time when a wandering monk rounded a corner, Kalinaar charged him heedlessly, right in front of the barracks. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 10 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 9 Recap

Returning to the ground floor of the Sacred Stone Monastery our heroes meet a friendly lich, hordes of monk cultists, and the Abbess of Stone herself.

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Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

The unexpected can make for some supremely fun and memorable moments in tabletop role-playing. It’s a two-way street. Players often do things that will take me completely by surprise, and part of the DM’s skillbook is how to react to that. Sometimes though, I can throw a fun monkey wrench at my players and watch events unfold exactly as planned – like Renwick the friendly lich.

This week my players had finished mopping up the Sacred Stone Monastery basement, and were intrigued about a well guarded door in the crypt. Having fought the zombie guards and survived the Cloudkill glyph, they prepared for a tough battle. They opened the door and were surprised to find stairs that lead back up to the monastery.

Inside was a lich. Renwick is a few centuries old and has a neat backstory involving the creation of the paladin order that Kalinaar once ascribed too – the Knights of Samular. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 9 Recap”

Weekly D&D Programming Update

Due to connection woes, we’re going to stop live streaming and just record our D&D sessions. Uploads to YouTube on Monday!

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Hey everyone,

Lately my ability to stream has gone down the toilet. My internet connection has never been great, but it’s always been good enough.

In the last few weeks, however, I can’t live stream without dropping about 80% of the frames. Anyone that’s tried to drop into our Sunday evening live streams have noticed how unwatchable that is. My upload speed remains the same and I’m unsure what the specific culprit is, but it’s not going away.

Since it also records and uploads to YouTube, it’s starting to drag the quality of our recorded videos down as well. The solution is to just stop live streaming altogether.

Instead I will record our sessions on Sunday evening, and upload them on Monday. The majority of our viewership and audience interaction comes from these archived YouTube videos anyway, and now the quality should vastly improve.

We really appreciate all the views and comments on our adventures and here on my blog. “Princes of the Apocalypse” is well under way and should last us throughout the year. If my connection woes ever improve we can try live streaming again, but for now you can watch our weekly adventures on my YouTube channel, and read about them here on my bog every Monday.