Critical Hit: A Major Spoilers D and D podcast
Four Against The Void

This episode: Stephen’s adventures as a Game Master continue as the party encounter the owner of the house.


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  1. Great job, Stephen! I was very sad to hear that you preferred “the other side of the DM’s screen” because your adventure had a lot of flavor and character. The story was engaging and your handling of the characters and NPCs made your game both fun and interesting. Even though you were unfamiliar with the system, I think your execution more than made up for your lack of experience. With a little more practice I think you’d make an amazing DM, and I really hope you decide to continue this story. It would be great for Thren the Wandering Minotaur to finally have a game to settle down in. XD

  2. TROGDOR!!!! The Burninator!

    I generally don’t listen to the podcast, but the first image I saw in my Major Spoilers feed was Trogdor, I’m giving the podcast a listen now and from the sound of it I’ll be pulling down the back episodes as well.

  3. I said “welcome to the Sinestro Coprs” half a second before Matthew and couldn’t stop laguhing for the following minute or so…

    Alex’s Character, Dim, was just brutaly efficient.

    Brian and Rob rolled good, which was rather shocking ;-)

    I love how Stephen has his monsters talking mid fight all the time.

    P.S.- For those who like Matthew warlock he has a webcomic counterpart that’s just as evil and funny called Richard here:

  4. For a first effort, it was a good job. Two observations for the experience, however.

    First, the puzzle was an interesting concept, but having a single player able to contribue to the success or failure of a major plot point can be problematic. Rob, Alex, and Brian really just had to wait for Matthew to hit a rather high dc. Allowing for creative ways to solve the problem (IE the bear helping or just getting the item), other players to assist (A perception/dungeon/diplomacy check to provide a +2 bonus), or be otherwise involved (A shapeshifting halfling could have found the back of the trap in lynx form) will keep the players involved.

    Second, don’t go easy on your players in combat. Prefab adventures often have encounter levels 1-3 levels higher than the characters playing them. This allows a challenge for the party, and forces them to make interesting decisions about when and how to use abilities as resources. You don’t encourage your group to become better players if you don’t use the full spectrum of monster abilities. If things start to turn south for the party then you can ease up on them via ‘fudged’ rolls, DM reduced HP, or a Deus Ex (IE moon dinos get upset and run due to an intimidate roll.)

    That all being said, it was a good first attempt. Stephen provided great voices, good atmosphere, and soild encounter design. You should consider extending the campaign.

    • Hey now, scaring away bloodied enemies is totally within the rules, the fact that we ran it incorrectly to the players’ advantage was totally coincidental.

  5. I finally caught up! I’ve been listening to Critical Hit for the past few weeks while I walk to and from the university. I’m thrilled to finally find an actual play podcast I like to listen to!

    I’ve really enjoyed the “full-circle” effect of putting Stephen in the DM’s chair and, hey, Mr. Schleicher, nice work! I hope you do it again soon.


  6. Is there going to be a follow up GM workshop session? I thought in the beginning Rodrigo stated that he was not going to play, but rather listen to the pods that cast and then provide advise. I would be really interested in hearing the Rodrigo and Stephen follow up session. I think this would be really helpful to the starting DM…

    Thank being said, I would prefer it not come at the expense of getting season three underway, maybe if it could just be added as an extra or something.

  7. Stephen – you made a pretty good one-shot. The voices really reminded me of some Golden Age of Radio serials – very entertaining. I know it takes a great amount of time to create this – but I would vote that you continue….even if it is as a occasional cameo for the current CH podcast. The party classes and races lend themselves to some interesting stories – and some tension between characters.

  8. Business Raccoon on

    I like the way you built the framework of the story and the way it unrolled in the course of play. That is, it felt somewhat creepy at times, but in a good way. Having heard the workshop episodes before it didn’t detract at all from the fun of listening to everyone throw in to make the story happen in a fairly natural way.

    Congrats, it seems to have worked.

  9. Things that Rodrigo can learn from GM Stephen (how ’bout that?):

    1, Speaking and taunting monsters make the game more fun, and makes it more fun for podcast listeners. This makes it feel more like a battle between thinking creatures and less like a dice-rolling sequence.

    2. Story-telling NPCs add a nice spice to the adventure. (But don’t let it get too long-winded.)

    3. More puzzles.

  10. Stephen, as I commented after the previous podcast, I am trully amazed. You did an awesome job at your first DM’ing experience. You have genuine storytelling capacity and a pretty good voice acting talent. You have to continue in that direction. There is always need for good DM! Couple of things I noticed: You have to learn the rules. Yeah I know, it’s tedious, but you might not always play with players as helping as those were and you might encounter your first rule lawyer! And you have to do more than an one shot. It will put emphasis on your storytelling and will create a less linear story.

    All in all, amazing job. I really enjoyed it.

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