Finally, after three long years, I have played D&D. It was a good session, though not a great one. It's to be expected after such a long hiatus.
The first thing to note is that I was incredibly rusty and self-conscious. In my old games I was guilty of some amateur dramatics when acting out my NPCs, and it took me a little while until I was comfortable doing that again. It probably didn't help that there were some non-gamers floating around. It took until the first combat for me to get back into the groove. The next session won't be at least for another month, but I suspect that I'll be better next time.
The game itself was supposed to focus on the siege of the PCs' home base by an army of orcs, but we didn't really get that far. (It's always the way; we never get through as much stuff as I'd like to.) While the siege was going on, the players spent most of their time exploring a dungeon full of wonders from a previous age, looking for things that can help them beat the orcs. The first thing they dealt with was a pit to the land of the dead that they had found last session, from which they could summon people back to life. (Read my last post for some of the issues surrounding this.) They submitted their freakishly long list of fifteen characters, and had to defeat a skeletal monster of my own devising to get them back. The catch was that this monster had an extra hit dice for every dead person requested, so I ended up with four characters of level 6-8 against a 20 hit dice monster. They would probably have died, except that I went a bit stupid with the magic items in the last session.
They have what I named an Arcane Warsuit, which is kind of like a small mech with wands mounted on the arms like a gatling gun. I think I got overexcited when designing this thing, because I'd forgotten that it has the capacity to fire meteor swarms, and to cast disintegrate. I don't know what I was thinking. Luckily it's an experimental model, and it's eventually going to explode and mess up whoever is inside it at the time. No such luck this time, but eventually the dice will fall that way if the PCs keep using it. In this game the meteor swarms may have saved them from a TPK, so I don't mind.
So the PCs destroyed the skeletal guardian and resurrected a bunch of guys, including three very high level fighters. Legendary guys like King Peramis I, the First King of Men, and Gwynian Purehand, founder of the order of paladins. I think I managed to succeed in having them not take over the game, but I was helped in that most of the action took place in the dungeon and not during the siege. What did happen was that a lot of my long-standing NPCs got lost in the shuffle, including one guy who I want to make the shift into major antagonist very shortly. I have to remember not to get too caught up in playing the high-level guys.
The majority of the rest of the game involved a lot of the players following clues and deliberating about how to follow them. And I do mean deliberating; I threw them a number of nuggets to help them get where they wanted to go. They did find the Skull of Vecna, a leftover from my 2e campaign, which they may be able to use to raise an undead army. They also found "The Body of the Light", part of my campaign's shattered sun god. This one involved a lot more difficulty, in that it was housed in a series of rooms full of random teleporters, each room with a monster inside it. The result was a lot of bouncing from room to room with characters getting into solo combat. It was fun at first, but eventually the random teleporting got a bit tiresome. It even resulted in the death of the thief, who was unlucky enough to be paralysed by a ghast and eaten alive.
The biggest problem with the game was that I crashed and burned at around midnight. Perhaps it had something to do with me getting up at 7:30 am and looking after three kids all morning. It could just be that I'm three years older than I was the last time I played. But it wasn't just that I got tired; my head was friggin' killing me. I seriously could not think any more. I frequently stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning without any ill-effects, but for some reason D&D just fries my brain. If anyone knows how to head that off, I'd appreciate the help.
The next game should wrap up this whole siege thing. The players have the means in their hands of repelling the invasion already; they could seriously wrap this baby up in about an hour. But I figure that with all of their deliberating and dithering around that will stretch out to a decent session.