• Welcome to Talking Time's third iteration! If you would like to register for an account, or have already registered but have not yet been confirmed, please read the following:

    1. The CAPTCHA key's answer is "Percy"
    2. Once you've completed the registration process please email us from the email you used for registration at percyreghelper@gmail.com and include the username you used for registration

    Once you have completed these steps, Moderation Staff will be able to get your account approved.

  • TT staff acknowledge that there is a backlog of new accounts that await confirmation.

    Unfortunately, we are putting new registrations on hold for a short time.

    We do not expect this delay to extend beyond the first of November 2020, and we ask you for your patience in this matter.

    ~TT Moderation Staff

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Dao Warlock sounds fun!

We had a session last night that seemed like it was going well enough, until everything went down in flames in the last few minutes.

We are climbing a tower in a city that's infested with undead. We have info that there's some sort of Necromancer at the top of the tower. We just reached the 3rd level, via a teleportation crystal. This floor is a 40' diameter completely open room with teleportation crystals at the south end (from the lower floor) and north end (presumably it leads further up). It's dark, and there are some shadowy figures moving around. We decide to dash to the other crystal and see if we can get to the next floor. The crystal doesn't work, and a bunch of Ghosts and Shadows appear and attack us.

So we didn't really have a lot of options, but that's fine, we have a big fight. The fight lasts the entire session. Most of our abilities do low amounts of damage or none, and they are all immune to confusion somehow. The Ghosts are able to attack, cause fear, and fade out of existence most turns. (I think the DM was running them wrong, but whatever). The Druid loses a turn to fear, and the Ranger is quickly losing his strength to the Shadow's attacks. Still, we're steadily taking out the enemies and there are only three left. On their last round, they outright kill the Ranger by reducing his strength score to 0, and possess the Druid. I decided to use Rope Trick to stall for time while we figured out how to un-possess the Druid, which was a super bad move I guess. The possessed Druid uses the teleporter that we came in through to teleport back to the tower entrance and flees. The remaining Shadows kill the Ranger's wolf (I'm not sure if it's unconscious or dead) We're informed that the Ranger is going to transform into a shadow in 4 hours. Session over.

My plan for next time is to go after the possessed Druid and try to knock her unconscious without killing her. Our Warlock couldn't make it yesterday, but he should be back next week and he can help with that. I'm going to send my Homunculus to seek out a Cleric or Paladin who can cast funeral rites using the Ceremony spell to prevent the Ranger from turning into a Shadow. We have some allies in the city, so hopefully that will be a possibility. The Ranger can only resurrect his wolf if he acts within one hour, so the wolf may be lost. He can summon a new beast, but he is attached to this one for story reasons, so that's a bummer. Maybe we'll find a high level cleric who can resurrect both, or maybe I can bring it back with Cure Wounds if it's just unconscious.

The DM was delighted with how things went and was laughing and talking about how great it was. The Ranger and Druid players were clearly super unhappy. I'm kind of annoyed that he gave these monsters a bunch of arbitrary abilities like lightning and magical piercing immunity, multiple actions per turn, and made them immune to confusion. Also, I regret not casting Web on the Druid to keep her where she was. I thought the fight was basically over and wasn't ready for things to go south so quickly.
 

Paul le Fou

24/7 lofi hip hop man to study/relax to
(He)
The DM was delighted with how things went and was laughing and talking about how great it was. The Ranger and Druid players were clearly super unhappy.
This is typically not a sign of a great session or great DMing. I hope you guys can work out a good solution that everyone finds satisfying!
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Yeah, we'll talk to him. He's a good friend and he'll come around to seeing that he was being too harsh. He just gets carried away when running things. He's an old-school player and I don't think he ever got out of the DM vs. Party mindset.
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
Youtube recommended me a video review of the Tomb of Horrors 5E revamp. It was fascinating, because it's a really stark demonstration of how different D&D is now than it was when Gygax first wrote the module. They thought it was the worst module ever; just full of cheap deaths and cruel, impossible traps. (Which is totally true, especially since the new version added clues that I don't remember from the original.)

What I find particularly fascinating, though, is that Hasbro felt is was fine to release this module on their unsuspecting fanbase with the original difficulty intact but without any context for how you're supposed to experience it. The original was an obtuse meatgrinder in an era when most dungeons were obtuse meatgrinders (if you weren't searching every space for traps and hidden doors, you were doing it wrong), and it was written for the con circuit so that players could go in with pregen characters they weren't attached to, and try to get farther than the other teams so they had bragging rights. It was Rogue, on a tabletop. Which is so fundamentally different from what modern players expect D&D to be that to reprint it without context is cruel.
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
Youtube recommended me a video review of the Tomb of Horrors 5E revamp. It was fascinating, because it's a really stark demonstration of how different D&D is now than it was when Gygax first wrote the module. They thought it was the worst module ever; just full of cheap deaths and cruel, impossible traps. (Which is totally true, especially since the new version added clues that I don't remember from the original.)

What I find particularly fascinating, though, is that Hasbro felt is was fine to release this module on their unsuspecting fanbase with the original difficulty intact but without any context for how you're supposed to experience it. The original was an obtuse meatgrinder in an era when most dungeons were obtuse meatgrinders (if you weren't searching every space for traps and hidden doors, you were doing it wrong), and it was written for the con circuit so that players could go in with pregen characters they weren't attached to, and try to get farther than the other teams so they had bragging rights. It was Rogue, on a tabletop. Which is so fundamentally different from what modern players expect D&D to be that to reprint it without context is cruel.

This sounds like a pretty click-baity and maybe uninformed video? The 5E re-release of Tomb of Horrors is part of Tales From the Yawning Portal, which is a compilation of classic adventures from older editions. They all have short historical disclaimers as part of their writeups, and the introduction to the book also mentions how these adventures all come from older versions of D&D.

At any rate, I have seen similar articles bashing Tomb of Horrors and other early D&D artifacts going back to the pre-social media Internet age. It's a very easy target, and behaves the way it does exactly for the reasons you describe.

I've always found it to be a fascinating piece of history. I'd love to run it some day, but it'd only be with heavy disclaimer to the players about what it is, what it does, and they'd all have to be on the same page. I'd never spring it on players unannounced.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I played the 5E Tomb a few years ago as a player knowing nothing beyond its reputation and I was shocked at how toothless it was. I came in prepared to feed a bunch of premades into the meat grinder but never died at all (granted, we ran out of time and didn't finish). It felt no more dangerous than any other module. I don't know how much of this is the 5E conversion and how much is just the 5E ruleset interacting with older concepts (and we probably approached it more cautiously because of its reputation), but I certainly wouldn't characterize this version as being particularly cruel or unfair.
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
This sounds like a pretty click-baity and maybe uninformed video? The 5E re-release of Tomb of Horrors is part of Tales From the Yawning Portal, which is a compilation of classic adventures from older editions. They all have short historical disclaimers as part of their writeups, and the introduction to the book also mentions how these adventures all come from older versions of D&D.
Yeah, see, I haven't read the book, and the video never mentioned it providing background or context. Shame on them!

I've always found it to be a fascinating piece of history. I'd love to run it some day, but it'd only be with heavy disclaimer to the players about what it is, what it does, and they'd all have to be on the same page. I'd never spring it on players unannounced.
I haven't run it specifically, but I've run a few Lamentations of the Flame Princess modules that were clearly trying to mimic it (%$#@ For Satan comes to mind). I opened with "this is an old school dungeon crawl intended to kill lots of characters" and handed the players a stack of 15+ pregen character sheets, with the assumption that you'll pull out a new one when your old character dies. That sets the tone nicely.
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
That's a good way to approach it. I've run a session or two of Dungeon Crawl Classics - where you start by rolling three or four zero-level characters - and since everyone knew their index card children would likely all die, we all had fun.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Due to a bunch of real life stuff, we decided to end our 5e campaign a bit early. I could have pushed for one final session against a BBEG, but it felt like it had run its course. Overall, it was my most successful campaign yet. We got up to level 8, and ended up with 4 total DMs. So, I actually got to play quite a bit. My Kobold Artillerist was an absolute blast, and I'm really glad I put in 1 level of Wizard. he was very much a magical jack of all trades, and he could deal out a healthy amount of damage when needed.

My favorite part that I ran was a floating island occupied by wizards that was being invaded by dwarves. The dwarves had freed a bunch of magic abominations as a distraction, but it backfired and the whole place was in chaos. I didn't have a solid plan going in, but the players took charge and organized the wizards, got a bunch of magic items, then fought the Dwarves' mechanical Roc in a wild, midair battle. D&D can always use more floating islands and aerial combat.

My favorite part as a player was early on when we ran into an Ogre that had a manacle around his neck and was dragging a long chain. I decided that we could get him to join our side if we removed the manacle, so I teleported to his shoulders and tried using various tools on a weak part. With a bunch of good rolls I got most of the way through before he finally grabbed me and tossed me off. So it didn't even work out, but it was a fun scenario. We ended up luring him to a Dwarf camp where he caused a bunch of destruction.

One of my friends has been working on a campaign for a bit, so he's going to take over as a semi-permanent DM. But first, I'm going to run the Caverns of Thracia in 1981 Basic/Expert D&D. We made up our party last night (a thief, a magic-user, and a pretty tanky cleric), and I let them pick a few retainers so they don't get wiped out right away. I've been preparing for this on and off through the whole pandemic, so I have shorthand notes for every room, and a photoshop map where I can reveal one room at a time. We're officially starting on Monday. It's gonna be a lot of fun.
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
Oh, Caverns of Thracia is neat. One of the older megadungeons. I read a lot of it when I was writing my own megadungeon game. Hope it's a good time!
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Had our first session of Old-School D&D last night! It was a very fun near disaster.

The party is made up of Xena, a Thief with 3hp, Christopher Blaine, a Magic User with 3hp, and Bufus, a Cleric with 6hp (not present yesterday). I also let them hire 4 retainers to fill things out a bit.

They were exploring the ruins of the city of Thracia and they quickly found an entrance to the underground caverns. But, curiosity got the better of them and they decided to check out another ruin to the south. They were ambushed by a group of 6 guards, and the fight went very badly. Two of the retainers were killed outright and another was hurt. After three rounds they were not able to kill a single guard, so they decided to dip. Christopher had dumped oil on the guards, and he threw his firestarter at them to start a big blaze. He ran off with the remaining two retainers, but Xena jumped into a big hole she had found in the ground. She was able to use her ability to climb sheer surfaces to avoid falling to her death, then used an iron spike and rope to descend down into the cavern, alone, with no light source of her own.

Christopher & co. made their way through an underground temple and found a secret, one way door to a side area devoted to the god of death, Thanatos. They found themselves face to face with a Wight. The dice were in their favor and they were able to defeat it. They then found a weird cleric in stasis and were able to communicate with him a bit using alignment language. Meanwhile, Xena snuck up to a guard and murdered him, somehow avoided a bunch of other guards and a massive religious procession, was paralyzed for a full hour due to a magic curtain, stole some gems from a statue, narrowly avoided a bunch of other deadly things by hiding in shadows (a 006 roll on a d100), found her way to the other half of the caverns, and against all sense and likelihood met up with the rest of the party. Then they all talked to a floating, green skull with horns, and found a rope ladder down to the 2nd level (their only way forward).

That's as far as we got for the night. 1970's adventures are wild, and very mean. The players learned that darkness is bad and it is ok to run away from fights. I'm actually shocked that we didn't have any PC deaths. We'll see if they are able to make their way back to town to cash in their loot for XP.
 

Lokii

Administrator
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
Spell Jammer!!!

I can’t wait to make some spell jam!!

Why is August so far away??
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
That's as far as we got for the night. 1970's adventures are wild, and very mean. The players learned that darkness is bad and it is ok to run away from fights. I'm actually shocked that we didn't have any PC deaths. We'll see if they are able to make their way back to town to cash in their loot for XP.

Proud of your group. It's pretty impressive that no one died. Getting into that "everything is deadly, running is good" mindset can be tough for players used to modern systems. Sounds like you had a great variety of encounters, too!

Spell Jammer!!!

I can’t wait to make some spell jam!!

Why is August so far away??

Co-sign.

If anyone hasn't seen this news, check out the preview videos. Shaping up to be one of the most fun and colorful releases in the 5E era.
 

Paul le Fou

24/7 lofi hip hop man to study/relax to
(He)
Co-co-sign. I did not expect anything to make me interested in base/official 5e content again, and yet, here we are. I will be keeping an eye on this one.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Old School D&D, session 2:

Last time, the party found themselves in a temple to Thanatos, down two retainers and fairly beaten up. Our mage, Christopher Blaine, decided to talk to the floating, green, horned skull with human eyes who was willing to answer yes or no questions. He learned that a creepy dark figure that they spotted earlier was not dangerous, and was then branded with a skull mark on his right hand as payment. They found a few secret doors that opened into rooms full of skeletons (they had some marble benches ready to bar the doors afterward, so they avoided fighting), and then they decided to leave the temple and descend into level 2 using a rope ladder.

On level 2 they found a river, and they saw stairs leading back up to level 1 on the other side. However, the bridge to get there was occupied by a giant gnome. Fortunately, Blaine speaks gnomish, so they were able to negotiate safe passage in return for a couple of weeks worth of rations. At the top of the stairs they found a barred passage and some guards (plus a weird illusion of a dryad), but Blaine once again saved the day, this time by casting Charm Person on a guard. The guard failed his save, and he doesn't get to make another saving throw against the spell for a full week! The party killed the other guard, and their charmed friend lead the party out of the dungeon to safety, while they set fires behind themselves. They ran into one more group of guards, but were able to escape by hucking a handful of copper coins at them (Xena rolled a 20, so I said the front guard was knocked over and the rest of them all tripped over him). They decided to let the charmed guard return to the dungeon, but scratched a bunch of marks in his helmet first. Now I need to roll to see if he's present whenever they run into guards.

Back in town, we checked XP (Xena is half way to level 2), stocked up on a lot of equipment, and hired 3 more retainers (a thief, a fighter, and a level 0 normal human). They headed back to the dungeon and explored more of the first floor. They tried to negotiate with some lizard folk and failed, but they at least avoided starting a fight with them. Heading down another hall, they ran into a pack of 7 Gnolls blocking the way forward. They decided that enough was enough and approached them head on. They had 2 fighters and Bufus, our cleric player character, in the front row, followed by the thieves and then magic users and their normal human torchbearer. In the first round of combat they managed to kill one Gnoll, and only one person in their party was hit (a thief was hit with an arrow for 1hp). The Gnolls made a morale roll (called for after an enemy dies) and failed, so they whole group ran away. The party is now convinced that they are invincible supermen, ready to take on whatever bosses or dragons are in their way.
 

Lokii

Administrator
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
Are any of you aware of walkthroughs, let's plays, or trip reports on adventures or modules, 5e or older? I'm looking for deep dives that take a close look at design but aren't reviews or writeups of actual play sessions. Does such a thing exist?
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Are any of you aware of walkthroughs, let's plays, or trip reports on adventures or modules, 5e or older? I'm looking for deep dives that take a close look at design but aren't reviews or writeups of actual play sessions. Does such a thing exist?
I've been trying to think of anything like this, and I'm coming up blank. The closest I can think of is Thursdays in Thracia, which is a writeup of an actual play, but approaches it from the perspective of taking a close look at the design and running of Basic D&D and The Caverns of Thracia. Also, Jacquaying the Dungeon, a series by The Alexandrian about Jennel Jacquay's design style (Jennel is the author of The Caverns of Thracia and other classic adventures). Both of these inspired me to run my current campaign.

We played again last night. We lost our first player character (died to a single arrow from an ambush), and we lost another retainer. But, the party made a lot of progress and killed a lot of gnolls. They are getting good at keeping characters in ranks, and trying to focus on one enemy at a time to try to force the other side to make a morale roll and flee. Also, they set a lot of fires. They have a pretty good grasp of the first floor of the dungeon now, but they ran into some dead-ends and were a little directionless toward the end. They have a fair amount of treasure though, so hopefully they make it back to town. I think some of them are close to leveling up.
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
First: There is a fucking OWLBEAR in the new Dungeons and Dragons movie. Also, Chris Pine is playing the bard. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Second: This got me thinking about the 2000 D&D movie. Does anybody know, did anyone ever release a rifftrax-style commentary track where the commenters were pretending to be the players? Like, announcing what Snails was trying to do and then announcing that he critical fumbled his hide check, that sort of thing? Because I really feel like that could greatly improve that movie.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
Not to my knowledge but, this exists:

And a sequel.

And another sequel but that one's about the card game of L5R.
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
Not to my knowledge but, this exists:

And a sequel.

And another sequel but that one's about the card game of L5R.
....I may own DVDs of everything in the Gamers universe. Including the "Human's & Households" spinoff.
 

Solitayre

Circumstance penalty for being the bard
(He/Him)
My current character has canonically been run over by Cyre 1313. That is all I have to report.

(She's not dead.)
 
Last edited:
Top