The guys talked me into running a Castle Whiterock game. It's the 800 page Mega-Dungeon from Goodman games. This sucker is HUGE! It's made for 3.5 but the guys really want to use Pathfinder and it's not much effort to convert so...I will use Pathfinder.
Our group is Me(The DM),my wife,my 20 year old son,my 18 year old son,two young ladies who date my boys,two friends of my sons,one old friend of mine who plays a lot and one old friend who plays once in a while. Also there are 2-4 others who play when they can but it doesn't end up all that often.
I hear there might be two more joining soon but you just never know.
The Core members of The Knights of The Tin Palace are only six people but our BIG games tend to be HUGE. That is far from average though.
We play anywhere from 1-5 days a week. I would say the average is only one or two days a week but if the game heats up and everything falls into place the guys have been known to drive me into the dirt. I'm only 41 but playing every night or even almost every night for a few weeks drains me to no end.
If I had my way we would play 2 times a week.
Our family plays RPG's as our main family activity. On Holidays we always end up with a full table the entire holiday.We play a lot of boardgames and other things to. Mostly though its RPG's!
Castle Whiterock Session 1(The Lucky Six)
Our game opened with the party just entering a roadside Inn about a days ride out from The Free City of Greyhawk. The adventuring band had tracked rumors and stories of some ancient fortress being used by evil forces in this area.
The Blue Frog Inn was the only place for travelers in the area to rest as mostly this is a area lightly sprinkled with farms and villages. Inside the Inn the party found out directions to the Castle and agreed to bring any books found at the site to the Innkeeper who collects the books. The gnome Wizard made sure she got first pick of any actual spell-books. The green mo-hawked human bard got many a strange looks with his outlandish garb and studded nose and lip rings but his professional and knowledgeable demeanor soon won over the crowd and the Innkeeper.
The Lucky Six(really five and a familiar toad but who's counting) set out and a few hours later found the mountain and the ruined castle. Climbing up the mountain and into the pass the band finally came to the castle. They had heard rumors of some order of monks that had set up excavations on the ruin surface and so where not too surprised to discover a gate blocking their path.
After some sneaking around the bands thief, a half elven lass,climbed over the gate area and spotted monks throughout the area.She also heard snoring coming from within the gate house so climbed back down and informed the band.
The Band knocked at the door and was soon greeted but some unshaven and unkempt monks. The party is eventually let in and discovers that this monkish order is indeed excavating the site and is escorted into one of the nearby tents(women are not allowed to roam around so the band is asked to rest within.
Bread and water are brought out and the party enjoys a repast while waiting for one of the monks to come inform them of the current state of the ruins. The Green haired bard does not eat or drink the water due to way too many stories about sinister poisonings.
Thirty minutes later the band finds itself the victim of poison! As the bard laughs and says "I told you so!" the rest of the party finds itself sluggish and weaker.
That is when the leader and six monks attack! The battle is fierce and things look bad for our band of adventurers several times but their name rings true and Luck falls their way! The halfling cleric of Ludd (Goddess of Luck) claims credit on behalf of his Deity!
However no sooner is the last monk taken hostage than another evil rears its ugly head! The party almost comes to blows over the fallen booty of the monks! Greed and loot rules flash back and forth until finally the band finds itself easing away from self destruction.
Finally questioning the scared hostage(and some fast talking and downright awesome persuasion) the man makes a deal with the band. He tells them everything he knows in exchange for being let free in order to flee the area and 10 gold crowns! The Cleric of Ludd makes everyone swear a Luck Oath(something he just made up) to keep their word.
The band finds out this order of monks are really slavers and that they have orc Allys within the ruins! Also that some Lord in Greyhawk is working with the slavers and sending messages that tell where weak men and women can be found and enslaved!
The party lets the slaver go and escort him away. They even kill several more slavers who get in the way of the mans escape.
Next the band finds a stable full of horses and sense a dire trap within. After much deliberation the party sends its human warrior within but the warrior finds only hay.
A fast search of the tents finds only broken gear excavated from the ruins so the group walks into the castle ruins proper. There the band tries meets more slavers and tries to pass itself off as buyers of slaves but finds out the alarm was already sounded and the bards snappy speech falls on deaf ears.(rolled a 1).
Another pitched battle and a few more close calls find our band picking through the ruins and finding a few treasures and better yet pages and pages of slaver paperwork. A crack in the ground,a HUGE wasp nest(they barley could stop themselves with messing with it) and a office room with a secret door!
At this point however our band is down on health,out of healing spells and without any back up arcane magic. Retreatig back out to the horses the band gathers them all up and with rope and such rides the horses back to the Inn of The Blue Frog to sell and rest up for a day or so.
So ends our first session of Castle Whiterock!
DM Notes. The game was fun! However loot rules and party cohesion almost spelled doom at the start. Also the crosstalk was ungodly. It took about three times longer to do anything as everyone drifted into jokes,real life stories and out of game rule discussions. See new table rules in the rules section for my attempt to curb this issue. Several people got bored of the slowness of the game due to the crosstalk so something needs to be done.
Over all I loved the game and got several positive feedback on it as well as the negative ones about crosstalk.
We play again today at four so I guess it couldn't have been that bad!
5- As the Table cross-talk has been complained about and is slowing down the game play(something we all dislike) I am creating rules to help keep the issue down. I will try and lead with the carrot and see if that works! The new rule is this. Anyone who goes a entire session with no crosstalk will gain 30% exp bonus! Not only that but if you can manage to do so for two sessions in a row I will award you one Fate point! This Fate point may be used for the following things(the exp bonus once per 6 sessions).. A one time 50% exp bonus for a single session(this does stack!) a free extra turn in game,a +8 to any roll(other than Hit point/leveling rolls) or one saved from death and instead left for dead. This rule is subject to change at any time take advantage of it now! Later the rule may not be so good!
I had thought of hurrying through the first 3 levels of the game with the fast exp tables before changing it to medium at 4th and slow table at 7th but I will just add rule 5 for now. Once the guys are 4th level and the cross-talk has gotten better I will ease off on the huge bonus.
I think the issue is mainly centered around one player (my oldest boy) who hasn't been playing with the group for a few months. Not that everyone wasn't doing it but he seemed to be the linchpin.
Not sure yet. Id like to set up a bracket, but that would take all day depending on how many people showed up and after every round, half of the players would have to sit the rest of the day out and thats no fun.
One-on-one with a few rounds like the C.O.C. would work, I think, but how much fun would a group of 4 fighting to death at the same time be? Baha