The Drow Wars (Campaign Prep)


Well, as a GM that will be running the Drow Wars Campaign. I have just begun reading book 2. I found the plot in book 1 to be very sound, alot of the players movements while linear will not be forced. There is some very fast paced sections, followed by a slowing do what you want period, only to have the players be placed in the thick of things again. This I find very nice. It allows a GM to covert the module/campaign to fit the players. It gives the GM areas that he can toy with separated by areas that need no work at all. Big thanks Mongoose, job well done!

Now, as a GM that will be running the Campaign. I have some thoughts and would like to ask those that find themselves running the Drow Wars Camp, as well as other roleplayers in general.

Skills. Do you find that your players just do not have enough? I was noticing the large number of skills needed to even have a chance of succeeding and getting the backstory/clues of what is going on. Nearly every skill will be used several times from what I have seen. Now if the party has a STANDARD rogue, a cleric, and a wizard. They will more than likely be able to catch a good chunk of the backstory/clue. And take the punishment when they don't. However, in todays world of specializations, most parties I have run, or been a part of, do not go with broad base skill selection. They pick certain skills and thats all they pump. Going by the limitations of cross-class skills and number of skill points per level, some characters are simply left out in the cold.

I am toying with the idea of granting players the "All skills are class skills ability" or the "All skills cost 1 point, but the caps still apply to cross class." Another idea is simply granting them an additional +2 or +4 skill points per level. That way they can still get the "main character skills" and still have some leftover passing knowledge of other areas.

CAN anyone see any pitfalls in doing any of these and which would you suggest?

I did a different approach. Firstly I made spot and listen class skills for everyone. Secondly, I allowed a party of 6 so there was better coverage of the essentials. I've never found that the party have missed something essential this way.

If you want to keep 4 characters then another approach is if they are missing a skill they can always ask NPC's to help. You could always allow the characters to start with a high int as well to give them more skill points per level which will allow you to keep the standard rules in place. I don't see any problems with the extra +2/+4 skills per level though it does mean one of the benefits of being human is removed.
Heh. I'm running the game with four novice players, and I naturally assumed that at least ONE of them would want to play a ranger. There's always a rookie who wants to be Aragorn, Drizzst, or some other fictional bad-rump.

Of course, players have a way of foiling GM's expectations. And of course, the Track feat is pretty important to the first adventure. So, I made Morton Gimbert, the assistant constable, a ranger rather than a warrior, and I gave the party a secret "plot point" bonus to their rolls.

I feel it's better for a GM to use contrvances like this, rather than buffing up the players, as a way to help the party achieve neccessary plot points. This way, it's all under his control, and he might not have to deal with seriously overpowered or unbalanced players down the line. It's easy to remove an NPC with the needed skill. It's a lot harder to rein in an over-buffed character.

Another alternative might be the use of the optional Action Point rule, with the occasional comment "You REALLY don't want to screw this roll up..."
My party (half-orc fighter, human cleric, dwarf wizard) ran into huge problems with Spot/Listen checks. They were absurdly tough so they could deal with any fights, but they tended to deal with traps by running into them. They hired a swamp elf ranger towards the middle of the campaign, which made up for their deficiencies.

A hireling like that is a good, quick solution. It also lets the GM fill in background info about Caldreza and other countries easily.
Well thanks for all the input, points well made about over buffing characters. I will just write up some Hirelings to handle various sections.

Again thanks for the input, a quick and elegant solution to the issue, and with a hireling you are not really spoon feeding success and plot to the PCs you are simply letting the be what they want to be and making the adventures work.

Thanks again