Last week, we kicked off my Scarlet Citadel campaign with Session 0. I’m going to do these write ups a bit differently to the ones I’ve been posting on here for Empire of the Ghouls, Tyranny of Dragons, and Wrath of the River King. Instead of writing up what happened in a “story hour” format, these posts are going to be my reflections on the game as a DM. Hopefully they’ll prove useful to others running the adventure.
This post may contain spoilers for Scarlet Citadel.
Introducing the Characters
As usual, we’ve got an eclectic bunch of characters:
Allia, an alliumite rogue on the run from her garden home in the Margreve Forest after being thrown out by her patch for being mischievous. Allia uses a playtest version of the alliumite PC race by Kobold Press freelancer Sebastian Rombach.
Cauldvyr, a purifier bearfolk druid from the Moonlit Glades in the Shadow Realm
Dimitar Galati, a Kariv human ranger and mule skinner on the run from Misto Cherno, the Black City
Farthrum the Exiled, a gearforged fighter whose backstory remains mysterious for now
Torander, a shadow fey sorcerer who believes secret lore about the origins of his people lie deep within the Scarlet Citadel
After the players introduced their characters, we came up with connections between each character and two others to tie the party together. Sly Flourish’s Lazy DM Workbook has a handy table for suggested connections which provided inspiration.
I gave everyone inspiration and the adventurers set up for Redtower as wagon guards for Clex Boulderflare, an excitable kobold alchemist, who was transporting valuable goods to his cousin Skekni Mudsnout who runs an adventuring gear shop in Redtower.
I had the party run into a bandit ambush en route. This consisted of 5 bandits led by a minor wizard with the sleep spell. This was a tough but survivable encounter for the 1st-level party – one or two characters went down to 1 hp or thereabouts, but no one had to make death saves. They all needed to use their inspiration* though! We’ll see how they get on in the dungeon itself – as things stands goodberries are their only source of healing…..
*in this campaign, I’m allowing inspiration to be spent after the initial die roll as I find it doesn’t get used otherwise.
The rest of the session involved chatting to the inhabitants of Redtower and arranging food and rooms for the night at The Cage. I used Jason R’s excellent VTT map for the tavern.
They’ve picked up plenty of rumours and other gossip from the regulars and are off to the Scarlet Citadel itself next session. The fight and roleplaying earned them 100 xp so they still have a way to go before they reach 2nd level and get some more hit points!
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Main image by David Auden Nash