Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dungeon-Delving Instincts Returning

We gathered to play in my friend's Scarred Lands campaign last night (3.5 ed). To be blunt, our play style going into this campaign was pretty sloppy, as a result of a combination of going over-narrativist in our style in the last few years, a brief stint with 4th ed, and having to bring two new players up to speed (one, previously a dedicated MMORPGer, said last night that table-top gaming was "better than a raid").

I finally had to shift my character's role around a bit. I had been trying to play a warder role (Jordan reference) to another player's ice witch, as apropos to the setting and our cultural background. The problem is that player isn't really comfortable playing the role of party leader, so I finally bit the bullet and took the role myself.

We were tracking the source of the abominations that had been plaguing the countryside and a nearby town, and last session we found a back-entrance to the source. After some careful scouting out of the cave-entrance, we climbed an 80-ft cliff face (with some misadventures caused by my character's ill-fated attempt to better secure the grappling hook and the use of a wand of levitation) and proceeded inside, finding the cave to be lined with a greenish moss that glowed when we were near, seemingly activated by our presence. The old instincts kicked in, and I ordered the party to gather some of the moss from the walls, which would provide a dim light-source when we didn't want to broadcast our presence but wanted to see. I also had the cleric cast a light-spell on my dagger, which I could hold with my shield-arm and quickly sheathe to dowse the light if need be.

We only had one significant encounter (a pair of chokers) and one magical mishap (the dwarven cleric's new magic axe caused her to go berzerk and attack the paladin; we were able to subdue her without anyone getting killed), but it was an enjoyable evening, with lots of in-jokes and puns that didn't interrupt the flow of the game too much, several hilarious situations (including a prank where the elven rogue levitated a letter to the sorceress from "her future self"), a tense encounter where we knew we were being stalked but couldn't see what was doing it, and some excellent teamwork on the part of the party. It was what D&D is supposed to be.

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