Tales from the Table: Storming the Camp

So a little bit of background on me and my DMing history before I get started. I LOVE Eberron. It is my absolute favorite campaign setting. It may because it (along with Kingdoms of Kalamar) was a new campaign setting created during my entrance into the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons. Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft (besides the supplement that Wizards of the Cost put out, Sword and Sorcery had the license to put out the setting as well) and Greyhawk (the 3rd edition/ 3.5 core books were based in this setting) had been around for a while. Eberron was new. It was basically, for lack of term, spellpunk. What’s spellpunk? Well, its modern conveyances replicated using magic. There are:

    • Trains
      • Lightning Rails (Elemental bound vessels that travel across super conductive stones)
    • Planes
      • Airships (Elemental bound vessels that use bound fire or air elementals to travel through the air)
    • Androids
      • The Warforged (Sentient constructs that were created as the perfect solders, now seeking a place in the world with now major war.)

So now that that tangent is over. It is story time.

When I was a new DM I didn’t like to fudge rolls. You know there are two types of starting DMs. One who fudges every roll so that their story is guaranteed to play out the way they won’t. The other is what I was the dice fall the way they fall and what happens happens. I was the later of the two.

So if you remember from my first tale, I ran a game that involved a catfolk monk. Well this story involves that same party. Also since I did not put a picture of them, this is what catfolk look like:

Anyway, as I stated before, In my early days of DMing I relied heavily on premade modules. This story takes place in the Shadows of the Last War module. In that module there is a part that with a camp that is 4 times more powerful then the party. The module even says that it would be ill advised to let the party attack the camp. They had managed to leave the camp completely left alone for the most part. That’s not to hard when you look at the map belong though. They came in from the north, and the camp is in the south (the camp is the circled area.)


So after getting the information they needed, one of the players (I think it may have been Shawn… again) looks at me and looks at the other players and goes “I think we can take that camp.” At that point I did everything I could to advise them against it. I told them they would be out numbered, that it was a much higher CR then them. I even told them that the book flat out said that it’s not a good idea. This… only made them want to do it more. So they decided they were going to fire bomb the camp. I figured ok, well most of the inhabitants of the camp are asleep so I’m going to have to roll to see if they wake up (again early days of DMing). First the party took out the two guards that were on duty. When I rolled for Spot and Listen for the guards to see if they noticed the party coming, I rolled low. Really low. So low that the guards did not notice the party. The managed to take the guards out without raising the alarm. Oh the guards in question? These guys again:

Then the fire bombing started. So I started rolling for the soldiers in the tents to wake up. For 15-20 straight minutes I am pretty sure I didn’t roll higher then a five. When the soldiers finally started to wake up and get out of the tents, the catfolk monk and another character were ready for them was there and ready for them. This was after he went and coup de graced an entire tent on his own. In 20 minutes a camp that was four times the equivalent level of the party was gone, laid waste by fire bombings and two characters running around and killing the unarmed (their tents were on fire they were more concerned with getting out and getting their gear from the ash later), groggy soldiers. From that point on I started gauging when it was ok to fudge dice. I mean hey every DM does it right.

Next Time: I tell a non-Eberron story. I tell the story of why not only is standing in the green stuff a bad idea, but looking at it is not a great one ether.


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