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Rialacha Teach Mhorgunna

The road to hell ...

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Is paved with good intentions.

Whoops it's been awhile.

Sorry. Work has changed for me and the new schedule has upset the time I set up for everything. Throw in vacation, trying to keep up with my DMing duties and an art project or two ... well ... here we are ... back again.

In our game we are still going through Out of the Abyss. And that is exactly what they want ... out of the Abyss. This has been a rough patch. Maybe I hit them too hard. They were experienced players ... decades invested. They breezed through Lost Mines. I thought they could take it. We had in the past gone through an adventure in Ravenloft, that our beloved DM, Rusty based on the song, "Hotel California And I fully expected them to blow my trap that would pull the party into the Abyss campaign, but Jim had his barbarian charge in without back up. Take note ... "Never split the party!" He got taken down by a Drow poisoned quarrel. The spirit of the Abyss setting is hard. It's oppressive. Still I thought they could take it.

I have to admit that I was a little blindsided. I knew Jim wasn't happy. Besides being captured and put in a Drow prison camp, his character, the Countess, has missed her wedding with her beloved, Sir Tyr, now being married to a doppelganger. But isn't the classic trope Girl meets boy ... girl looses boy ... On top of that, the Countess' Warlock patron made a bad deal and could not help her directly. Did I mention that Jim was not happy. Vince, always the contrary one, was having a ball. Bryan and his father Will gave me the understanding to continue, though Bryan told me that after talking with his friends what was going on in the campaign, that they would find the campaign too intense.


That's a compliment ... Right?

I kept telling Jim to trust me. They were doing great ... I thought. I mean I've watched almost every Out of the Abyss Youtube video I could find. Not too many actually utterly destroy Velkenville. They burned the altar of Loth! All that and none of them had their original gear. I took a page out of DM Josh's stream and put the Oozing Temple under Dark Lake. We cut the party in half at the suggestion of a couple of players. I let them choose. They made it through Sloopledoop. In it's aftermath, I noticed a shift. Multiple players made the comment they were tired of saving people, and questioned what the purpose. Will lost it with the comment, "Get me out of here!" I was shocked. Just the last game, he had reassured me that he was having fun. Turns out Will's health and work life had amped up the stress in his life.

Time to dial back. Generally, I pulled back the bad dreams and curses. I started asking what mode they wanted. I showed Will that the Underdark was where he would find his tutor to become an alchemist. As Jim's Countess began to regain her use of spells, Jim is now understanding the reason for certain restrictions I placed upon the characters. The mystery unraveling has caught their imagination. One which was key to to my version of this campaign, is that the Underdark is part of the Feywyld. So time between the two planes is not linear or synched. My whole idea is to have them come back just in time to stop the Countess' wedding. I mean ... I know it's lame. But I know this is the last thing Jim expects and the thing he will relish the most ... killing the doppelganger. Which also allows me to really mess with the timeline. When they go back to the Phandelver Mines ... they will find the people again that sent them to the Underdark ... again for a third time.

As it is going, at present, we will have the second half of the group cut scene through Blingenstein with death roles in a to determine the outcome to speed up the progression. We are on the third session of Will's quest to become an alchemist. It is going well and it should move things in the right direction.

Out of the Abyss.

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Updated October 17th, 2017 at 16:43 by mhorgunn



  1. LordEntrails's Avatar
    Just in case you hadn't noticed, this is what helps to make a good DM:
    - out of character communication, and
    - the willingness to adapt your storyline/vision to the players.

    Keep up the good work
  2. mhorgunn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails
    Just in case you hadn't noticed, this is what helps to make a good DM:
    - out of character communication, and
    - the willingness to adapt your storyline/vision to the players.

    Keep up the good work
    Oh I totally agree. Two sessions ago, I had planned an encounter with up to 3 waves of Cocatrice. I ask what level they felt like that night and they replied medium. Yep waves and two petrified characters later they all agreed they had gotten exactly what they had asked for. And left the table happy.

    What gob smacked me was I had been doing touching base all along. Jim I knew wasn't happy. He's a good player but has to be reminded to let others shine. I had two other players in mind which this one. He wasn't happy that he had to wait for the spotlight.

    Twenty minutes before the meltdown, I had just touched base with all the players and they seemed onboard. Even Jim seemed to finally be coming around. Then BAM!!!! Hit the wall and had to do some reavaluating fast. I asked the players questions on what was bothering them and their input on what would make it fun again. As you pointed out those two axioms are golden. But a good DM also has to know that when you are playing sometimes things can change on a dime and at best you have to back up a bit and pick up the pieces.
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