Behind the Screen: The Joys of New Experiences!

2009 April 28
by Dante

At long last I emerge from my programming cave to post again! Special thanks go out to Stupid Ranger for pulling some of my weight the past few weeks while I work through a particularly thorny set of work responsibilities!

Learning by Doing

As those of you that follow us regularly may remember, we are experiencing 4th edition via the excellent Keep on the Shadowfell module. This experience has been heightened by the addition of the PHB2, which we reviewed thoroughly last month. During this process, this module has provided a buffet of 4e goodness.

It is interesting to behold the group dynamics that take place when different aspects of the adventure present themselves. Two weeks ago, our group found a secret door that led them into an adjacent room with an illusory wall. The rogue in our group got his moment to shine as he found the secret door, checked it for traps and led the group through into that portion of the module. The player of said rogue had a giant grin on his face the whole time.

In that same section, Stupid Ranger’s character used Tenser’s Floating Disk to bypass some terror runes that were carelessly strewn throughout that portion of the dungeon. I’ve not read all the errata surrounding the disk, but I decided to allow them to step over it to avoid the trap since it was an interesting use of that ritual. She was very pleased about this.

The group ran into their first encounter with a time-resetting trap that spewed skeletons, which was mildly annoying but they quickly dispatched their foes and pressed on into the dungeon without their coveted five minute rest to solve that encounter handily.

Finally, I got my moment of learning and enjoyment out of a negotiation style challenge with what could have potentially been a game-ending encounter with a fallen knight. I found this challenge mechanism incredibly fun to play and very engaging for the players as well, so I count this as a success.

Shared enjoyment for all!

So what’s the point of listing these various encounters? Mostly, I want to illustrate the variety of good stuff to be had in Keep on the Shadowfell thus far and I also want to point out the “shining moments” of our last few sessions so you might incorporate some of the same aspects into your games.

Because I haven’t played in groups with very many rogues, I was slightly surprised by the visceral joy to be had by the player of our rogue when he found that secret door. Stupid Ranger got her classic “I really showed you, DM!” smile going when she dreamt up riding that disk a short distance to avoid the terror runes. Even I got a moment of happiness to try a different style of encounter in that negotiation (and I think our group enjoyed it as well!)

So get out there and try some new things throughout the course of your normal campaign. If you’re stuck in the same “find enemies/kill enemies/loot treasure” cycle it pays to break it once in awhile with a new experience.

One Response leave one →
  1. Todd Bradley permalink
    April 30, 2009

    It sounds like you’re about at the same part of the dungeon as the group I’m in. We didn’t find the illusory wall, though, which is too bad given I’m playing the rogue of the group.

    And if your “mildly annoying” skeleton trap is the room with all the sarcophagi that spring open when you enter just before you get to Lord Byron’s tomb, it definitely wasn’t mildly annoying for me. It was nearly deadly (and annoying). I thought I would do the smart thing and sneak in to do some recon, but set off the “trap” and was immediately surrounded by fast moving undead and nearly killed, while the rest of the party was about way back outside the room waiting for me to report back. Just one of many instances of bad module design we’ve run into in this adventure…

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