Keep on the Shadowfell – an ongoing campaign

For the past year I have been running the WotC 4e D&D Encounters program at my FLGS (Tabletop Tyrants) along with the associated Lair Assaults and Game Day events, but what I missed was an ongoing campaign. Something where the players could evolve their characters and have a lasting impact on the world around them.

Well, during the gap before the latest Encounters started I had the opportunity to run a taster session for some players that wanted to try D&D and the bug bit me. I decided to start a once-a-month game based upon the WotC published adventures, beginning with H1 The Keep on the Shadowfell and (hopefully) progressing through the others which have sat on my shelf since I bought them.

shadowfell

Once I had decided to go ahead I picked a date and posted the event on http://www.meetup.com/EMRPGG/ and was quite amazed at how quickly people signed up for it. I had to limit it to six playing spaces for two reasons, first off was physical playing space. Tyrants is a great place but always busy and Saturdays in particular see a huge influx of MtG and wargames players, but organising with the excellent staff I arranged space to play (right near the heater, purely coincidentally of course). Secondly, if the party of players gets too large it becomes difficult for each person to get a chance to shine in-game. The signups for our inaugural session was a mixture of players from my Encounters players, the players that had tried the taster session, a player that had travelled from Derby to take part as they couldn’t find a group nearby, and a player from a campaign one of my Encounters players had run previously at the store.

I must say that everyone gelled really well seeing as most didn’t know each other and by the end of the session you’d have thought they had been playing together for months rather than four hours.

As to the campaign itself, I wont go into the details as I’m sure most of you have read the adventure at one time or another, but I am running it based mainly on the published adventure with the additional notes from a Greg Bilsland article in Dungeon magazine (converting the module to Forgotten Realms). The heroes have been sent to Winterhaven at the request of Marla (a priestess of Pelor in Fallcrest) to investigate rumours of a Death Cult. En route they encountered a kobold ambush, arrived in town and talked to some of the locals, and investigated a local archaeological dig site. They have found signs that something is definitely wrong in the area around Winterhaven – but will they be able to put an end to it?

At the end of the session we compared diaries and arranged the date for session 2 (which has already been filled up on the meetup event page). I also asked the players to come up with their pc’s wishlists for treasure (a nice idea in 4e which makes the DM’s life a little easier) and since then one of the newer players has created an online party treasure list for the group to use. I’m really looking forward to see how not only their characters but the party as a whole will grow together, after all, without willing players I would just be sat reading modules and rulebooks on my own in the corner.

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