Sunday, November 13, 2016

Felltower Prep Rundown

As usual, it's Sunday, so it's a game report or Felltower on the blog.

Our current plan is two sessions a week apart, mostly because this weekend was bad for some people and terrible for me - I have deadlines rolling up this week for a couple of very work-intense projects, so I couldn't really spare the time for prep work.

I run a megadungeon because, once the dungeon development is done, preparation for game isn't very heavy. But it's not nothing, and I have basically nothing in the way of spare time until, oh, next Saturday.

What I need to prepare depends heavily on what the PCs actually do. My experience with players in general is they'll strongly debate either Plan A or Plan B, rehash why if they'd done things differently Plan C would have worked, decide on A then B or B then A, then immediately put Plan D into effect without any prep. Usually Plan D being something everyone is opposed to or at least not interested in doing yet, but isn't as specifically opposed to as either A or B and it doesn't involve arguments over C.

Naturally as a GM you need to ready for all of them.

I see a number of possibilities:

Sorry everyone! Let's Try That Again.

I can see them attempting to negotiate with the orcs again. That is, go for a reset. "Look, mistakes were made, we said we'd kill the Lord of Spite and instead we've twice gotten him all riled up and he killed some of you guys. Third time's the charm!"

So I need to prepare for that. It's almost a dead certainty they'll want to try this no matter what.

Dragon Cave

Next possibility is the dragon cave. This can lead a few ways:

- Go in and try to dig out the blockages put in by the orcs to prevent people from doing exactly what the PCs want to do. That is, go in from the surface, come up from inside the orc's fortifications, and attack them.

- Go in, try to kill the "behir" because he's got it coming because . . . I forget why, honestly, but "kill the behir" is on the to-do list.

- Go in with Plan A or Plan B, directly above, and then get distracted by the Big Doors.

- Go in with no plan except, "Let's figure out those big doors."

So I need to make sure this whole area is up to date, familiar, and the minis are packed.

Just attack!

The PCs might just roll up to the castle, do the old favorite of "Super _____" (fill in anyone's name, in this case, probably Vryce) and put about 10 buff spells on that one guy and have him solo attack the place. So it'll be invisible flying shielded Vryce with Might, Strengthen Will, all the Resist spells they know, having quaffed an Agility potion and probably some Haste ones, Great Hasted by an invisible Dryst who's also flying nearby, probably will some buff spells I'm forgetting now. After all the reachable orcs are dead, the party will come up and try to get inside.

Not sure this will happen, as it's been tried before, and I'm basically ready for it - little prep here. But it's possible.

Overland attack.

The PCs might just opt to spend time hiking around and attacking the orcs on the surface. I'm not sure this will happen. I'm prepared for it, but I'm not sure they are. It would require Gale and really play to the orcs' strength (numbers, ranged attacks, fortifications) and not the PCs (one-on-one power, melee, close-in magic).

To save the dungeon, we had to destroy the dungeon.

Or parts of it. Gale may learn Earthquake soon-ish, with the intent of using it to collapse the section of the dungeon where the orcs come in.

The orcs do come in from a tunnel, but it's hardly shallow - it's under the V-shaped point of mountains (Felltower sits at the tip of the V), which means it's not really vulnerable. The point(s?) where it debouches into the dungeon will be, but a collapse there will also collapse part of the dungeon. And has other risks, too.

So I need to prepare for that, even if it's a session or two away - just in case they starting working on it now so that way next next session is "show up, Earthquake, Step 2, Profit."

Maybe there is another way in?

Not that they know of. But I'm expecting some hopeful probing towards, "There must be a secret way in to the depths that totally bypasses the orcs." It's a frequent request.

Sadly, as many entrances as I put from the surface (there are about six they know of and have used?) there are nearly that many entrances that have become inaccessible thanks to PC action or inaction. Or are flat-out too dangerous.

But I do need to prep for the investigation hoping to find one. There are other ways into the dungeon. They aren't remotely accessible giving the resources and knowledge of the PCs, and it's a hopeless task for right now. Also, they aren't easy - none of them. Some of them won't really be ways in until the PCs discover where they come in to by already being in the dungeon. All that said, the players really want something like this, so even a hint of it means working on it, and I need to have all my prep ready for it.

Plus I need to make sure I've dealt with lingering issues from last session, and double-checked all of the level areas they can reach. And write rumors, and write extras because I'll only have a (very busy) week in between to fill in more.

Fun stuff - I love my game - but low-prep does not equal no-prep. This coming week is work and prep.

Hopefully this was a fun read, it helped me organize my thoughts about what I need to get done for game next week and the week after.


  1. I'm pushing for dragon cave or bugbear entrance clearing and orc slaughter. If they want to spend a session walking around again, I'm out. I joined because this was "weekly dungeon delve" and it's a campaign again, and I think a full third of the sessions I've played at Felltower in the three years? I've been playing have been "exploring the map" because previous players scoured it clean and forgot what was explored and what wasn't, and wanted to keep avoiding the orcs.
    Thanks for the big hints at what not to do, but Super Vryce vs. The Castle will probably happen. Hopefully as a distraction while one of us goes through the tunnel o' death to see what's in there.
    Killing the behir is just us being bored. It would accomplish little except maybe fill the loot requirement, and then the orcs would freely move into his territory.

    1. That's "campaign creep" in action - as much as it's a pick-up delve, you do have to deal with the consequences of previous actions. And if the players make a series of decisions that lead to a big problem growing and that avoiding dealing with that problem, well, you get the orcs.

      Super Vryce is fine, like all of the Super Whoever variations in the past, it's just not very interesting for everyone else. It's an expensive tactic in terms of mana and time, too.

      (And FWIW, I'm going to point to this comment when people say, "But my players *want* a deeper campaign! No one wants just 'weekly dungeon delve!'" without at least trying "weekly dungeon delve.")

  2. Obviously the PCs can't just do the easy thing and go to an easier to get into dungeon.

    Their players wouldn't let them!


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