Category Archives: Tales from the Table

Tales from the Table: The Wailing Caverns

I like the Warcraft lore. When I found out that there was a World of Warcraft campaign setting for DnD you bet I scooped it up and ran a campaign. I ran a cross faction campaign, meaning players were both Alliance and Horde. The party consisted an orc barbarian (who had an intelligence of 7, which became a running joke), a night elf priest, a human mage, and a tauren warrior. Now for those of you that have never seen a tauren before, please let me enlighten you. This is a tauren:

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They usually stand between six and nine feet tall. Also that thing on his back? That’s a weapon called a totem, and its basically a tree trunk. Yes, the party’s tauren had one. Anyway all of this is important.

I decided to have the party go into an area known as Wailing Caverns. Wailing Caverns is normally a dungeon in the World of Warcraft MMO. It is linked to a plane called the Emerald Dream. The Emerald Dream is a world much like the prime material plane (a player’s home plan) except without the encroachment of civilization. It’s from there that druids get their powers. Anyway in my version of Wailing Caverns, I had these pools of emerald liquid. These pools were portals to the Emerald Dream. You could see into them and see the dream, or if you touched them, your spirit would be shunted to the plane in the form of what I figured was a good interpretation of a spirit animal for you. The mage of the party decided to stick his hand into the pool, and you can figure out that part from there.

Now I will give credit where credit is do. The party could have written him off as dead. Left his body there, and been done with it. They didn’t though. The tauren hefted the mage onto his back and carried him through the entire dungeon. See they figured if they could find the guy they had been sent to save, he may be able to help the mage. So through the whole dungeon the mage is literally being carried. Even while in combat. And you know what? They did a great job keeping the body safe. That is until they got to the final room. In that room they fought a giant serpent. To give you an idea, imagine this:

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the size of a TAUREN!!!! So the party rolls for initiative, and the tauren goes first. Now not only did he have a totem, but he also had a weapon that was basically a halberd (the name escapes me at the moment). He rolled to hit the snake with this weapon and rolled… a natural 1. At this point I should point out that while I had stopped using the crit chart, I was (and still am) using a fumble chart. I had the player roll. They rolled and the result was that they slipped and fell backwards. Right on top of the mages soulless body. The mage started to die (I think he was brought down to –2 hit points) and only thanks to a) the quick thinking of the priest, and b) the party killing the serpent before he died, did he survive. He even found his own way back to his body. I mean yeah, he had a few broken bones from a 7 foot something cow man falling on him, but hey he was back.

So that’s the story. Next time: II ‘m actually not sure. It took me so long to write this. The fact is Tales from the Table did not pick up the way I wished it to. So for the time being this is the final Tales from the Table. Is it the end permanently? No, just a hiatus.

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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.)

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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.

Tales from the Table: Just a bad choice of Words

There is really no real build to this story. A player stepped away from the table to use the rest room. This particular player was that guy. The one player where you feel you that you should avoid attractive female NPCs in a campaign. So when he stepped away he to the rest room at the start of an encounter. he had rolled at the bottom of the initiative so we figured he had time. So the first round of combat wind down and it got to his turn. So we waited. And waited. AND waited. 20 min went by. One of my other players got impatient and decided to see what was taking him so long. He leaned back in his chair, and right in the middle of the store we were playing in and yelled “Yo, Back-Dorian (the player’s character was in fact named Dorian), it’s your turn!!!” From the rest room we here “I’m coming right now!!!” Now because of the type of person this player was, the amount of time that the player was in the rest room, and the inflection in his voice, it made it seem like he was more occupied then just going to the bathroom in there. I lost it. I could not stop myself from laughing so hard that I fell off of the chair I was sitting on. The player in question got back to the table and found me laughing so hard that I was having a hard time even breathing. He looked confused. So that’s really the whole story.

Next time, I’ll tell the story of what happens when a DM (me) rolls single digits for 10 minutes straight.

Tales from the Table: The Crit Chart

Ahh, the crit chart. I should explain that before I get to the story. See, in my early days, unbeknownst to my players, I used a chart for critical hits. Not to tell what the hits did, but where they hit. It was never to complicated. It was normally roll a d6 and then what ever I rolled would correspond with a section of body. This particular story led to that being fazed out.

When I first started running games, I relied heavily on premade modules. It wasn’t for lack of imagination, but because I was new at being on that side of the DM’s screen. The particular module involved in this story is Grasp of the Emerald Claw. The party had just come up to a small contingent of Emerald Claw soldiers. If you have no clue what an Emerald Claw soldier looks like, well this is one:

Except normally the have flails, not swords. Anyway that’s here nor there. The party knew that there were more near by, so Shawn, the monk of the party, decided that they should take on the group they found, and then go and find the others. The party surprised the small group, and managed to take out all but one of them. That on attempted to run to warn the others. Shawn’s monk did the only logical thing he could think of. He took on of the shields off of one of the dead bodies, and threw it at him… Wait did I say logical? I meant insane. Anyway it was what he wanted to do, so I made him roll an attack roll. I sat behind my screen thinking “Well this is going to be interesting.” Then I heard the word that I was not expecting to hear at all. Shawn jumped up, triumphantly shouting “CRIT!!” So I rolled the d6 and it came up left leg. Shawn rolled for damage and wouldn’t you guess it, max damage.  So about 20 points of damage to the guy’s leg… Shawn cut the guy’s leg off by throwing a shield that looked very much like the one above. The party decided not to let the situation go to waste. The interrogated the now one legged man to learn where the others were. Shawn even was nice enough to tourniquet the man’s leg for him, rolling a natural 20 on the heal check to do so (many emerald claw soldiers are literally just fallowing orders, and Shawn felt bad for the guy.)  After getting the information from the guy, it was decided that they would knock him out, tie him up, and bring him back for proper treatment. Shawn decided he would do it. So he again makes his attack roll. He then starts laughing. Not in that funny ha ha kind of way, but in that the only response I have right now is to laugh kind of way. He looks at me and just says “crit” The only response I could muster was “Really?” I look at the d20 and sure enough it was in fact a 20. I make him roll damage and again he manages to roll for maximum damage. I roll on the crit chart and wound up with head. So first he cut off this guys leg, and then he caved the man’s head in. From that point on his character was jokingly called Captain America, and I haven’t used the crit chart sense.

Next Time: I tell the story of how some bad choice of words, and some really bad timing almost left my DnD group without the DM (that DM being me)

MyDDO: Tales from the Table

I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons for the last ten years, and over this last ten years I have gathered quite a few stories from the table top. Also I am a big fan of Counter Monkey. So why am I filing the intro into MyDDO? Well, because I don’t want to share just mine. I want to share your stories as well. I want to hear your tales of your parties exploits, and I want to put them here for all to see. So if you have a story your willing to share, e-mail it to me at TalesfromtheTable@outlook.com. Send me the story, the name you wish to be credited as, and any other information you want on the article. I hope to get some fun stories to put up. You can find Tales from the Table here. Next time, I tell the story of why I had to stop using crit charts. It involves a catfolk, a shield, and one really REALLY unfortunate solider.