Campaign Crunch #14&15: When Con saves go bad, hitting level 5, a player takes a sabbatical

We’re going to smoosh 2 Campaign Crunches together into one. There’s been some time off at play so we’re playing catch-up here. We’re going to hit on 3 things: The near death of a character via Sewer Plague, Leveling up and doling out some goodies, and handling a player that needs to take some time off.

1)When Sewer Plague nearly kills someone: Magnus contracted Sewer Plague in the, well… in the sewers. Its a very low CON save to resist it and then to reverse the effects of it. The DC is a lowly 11. Magnus also has some positive CON modifer at play so every roll the chances of saving were actually higher than the chances of failure. Alas, success was just not meant to be. Failure after failure quickly spiraled into a whirpool towards certain death. Once at level 3 exhaustion you start to incur disadvantage on Saving Throws. It was at that point that things looked VERY dire indeed. Luckily another character was willing to barter themselves to the Raven Queen (who he is already enthralled to) for some divine assistance! It was such a great moment in our game! In short be aware that even low DC saves can be missed and hitting 3 levels of exhaustion is where the exhaustion mechanic takes a steep dip over a sheer precipice!

2)Leveling up! In this campaign we’ve elected to go with milestone leveling instead of XP leveling. Why? We wanted to remove the XP slog out of the game. Now there’s no real reward for meticulously hunting down every enemy or getting yourself neck deep in an encounter that could’ve been avoided. You’re gonna level up when it’s the right time in the story-line to do so. We did just level up the entire party which when using milestone leveling can more easily be done between “adventures”. This just has a better narrative flow than leveling up mid-dungeon-crawl to us. No more falling asleep and awaking with new abilities. Now those abilities are learned, or honed, or perfected between bashing heads.
We also used this time to dole out some goodies to the characters. Some magic weapons and items, some new abilities, some fresh resources or gold… We like this because it flows well in the narrative and allows the DM to reward each character/player in a way that continues to drive that character’s narrative.

3)When a player needs a sabbatical: One of our players (The mind behind our superstitious 1/2 Orc Ranger Jung) needs to take a break for work reasons. At our table if you miss a session you fork over your character sheet and the DM or your fellow players (or often a combination of everyone) runs them for that session. Missing several sessions made that feel too much like having a near permanent NPC tagging along with the party so we had Jung take a contract with the king’s special forces the Black Cloaks. Our DM will feed the player some intel collected during Jung’s time with the Black Cloaks, her work earns the group some gold in the meantime, and she’s still in action (just not with the rest of the group) so leveling up accordingly makes narrative sense.

How do you deal with player breaks or absences? Let us know! And we’ll see you soon!

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