Last night I continued dungeon mastering my group through Dragora’s Dungeon. We all had lots of fun, and I’ve identified some things that went great, some things I’ll revisit in the future and some things to keep an eye on in my play.
At the end of their December session, the player characters had entered The Lost City of the Parhok and encountered a group of tall monkey men called the Zain-kin. Negotiations broke down and a battle was about to begin. Reinforcements entered the fray after a few rounds, the party tactically withdrew and started sneaking around the edges of the city. After questioning a pair of Zain-kin children, they presented themselves to the tower of one of the city’s main factions, the Zamosh. They were in discussion with the elders of the clan when the session came to a close.
A lot went really well. Right off the bat, the large complicated battle with 14 bad guys and 5 PCs moved okay and was fun. I spent some time designing the battle map, included a rushing river, a handful of buildings and some rocky cover. The terrain made a difference and was heavily used by the PCs. Overall, the party felt like they were in danger, but it didn’t seem hopeless. The question of whether to flee or fight came up early, and just as the tide was turning in the PCs favor – I think around the third round – Zain-kin reinforcements arrived. While the PCs may have been able to defeat their enemies, this was uncertain, and they didn’t know if more were coming.
I place a lot of value on meaningful decisions, and this was the first of the session. Had they fought and loss, they would have been taken prisoner. Instead, they fled.
A large part of the session involved moving through the city and trying to figure out what was going on. This involved talking to people, watching the movements of Zain-kin and making some educated guesses. This felt very organic as they pieced it all together.
The module includes a bit about the language of the Zain-kin that proved a lot of fun: they speak an old dialect of Common. PCs must make a history check to have an ear for the language. My own ear for language is poor, but I managed to describe the effect well enough. Most importantly, the half of the group who could communicate wasn’t the half that was skilled at diplomacy. This set us all up for some great role-playing and hilarity.
It wasn’t all perfect, of course. I’ll dig into the areas for improvement on Thursday.