AAR: The Start of the Evils of Illmire
Time to start The Evils of Illmire!
I got this via its kickstarter earlier this year as it looked nice, and more importantly, it was cheap for digital. It’s the sign of a good one that I wish I had it in print as well now! Handily, it also has a D&D 5th Edition conversion, that came a little later than the main booklet.
It is a sandbox set around the town of Illmire. As the title hints, shenanigans are afoot…
I’m playing this with a larger group - small groups have the “well we can’t play without X, we don’t have a healer” problem. But take your pick from [🎄 🇬🇧 😷] right now! So far, we’re two 2-hour sessions into a game, with 3-5 players attending.
The players arrive in Illmire, starting at level 3.
Well, that’s not the start, firstly I let them roll for rumours. I also said:
Events can happen on the road. If you would like you can roll for an event!
- The paladin lost his front teeth
- The ranger is in debt by 100gp to the sorceror
- The sorceror made bank and has 600gp
- The cleric… changed alignment to neutral
Well, that went down well. Didn’t change god, lose spells and domains etc - that would be amazingly cruel when we haven’t even started yet. We just agreed (initially reluctantly by the player but he’s having fun now) that he’d seen too much shit and has lost his lawful fervour.
Anyway, they trek down the King’s Highway, and see some nefarious types to the north. They hide, and overhear the bandits giving up on attacking people they’ve failed to ambush. Proceeding to Illmire, they find a scared populace plagued by, uh, plague.
They decide to investigate the well, to see if it’s been poisoned. While the sorceror lights it up to see if there’s anything at the bottom, the ranger shouts “OH MY GOD THE WELL IS POSSESSED” and Father Rand comes to see the problem. After a good Persuasion he is convinced and starts a sermon to the populace on the problems in the town and how prayer and sacrifice will help.
Also helping is the sorceror, who discreetly levitates the ranger.
This makes actually looking down the well pretty hard, so once everyone’s calmed down, the party go to see the mayor. Piedmont, the butler, does not let them in - “Lord Claremont is sick”. “Have you tried the well water?” is the retort.
The paladin is suspicious and casts Detect Evil and Good, but gets nothing. He decides to cast it in the church graveyard instead and feels definite Evil twangs. He promptly passes out (because we switched to session #2 here and the player couldn’t make it).
Two sisters of the cult of the Luminal Star (the church) help carry him to the pub, as the church is closed for renovation, and would be entirely unconducive to recovery. The Weary Wagoner has rooms and Birella pours them ale. She agrees the highway has a bandit problem but they’re safe in the town. The party are suspicious about the church but she says they’ve been here a while and no, they’ve not done anything crazy.
Then the ranger nips out to the stables, whereupon one of the kitchen hands asks him if he needs anything. The ranger panics and leaves, coming back to a fight started by some thugs at one of the tables.
Despite someone’s Burning Hands, hardly any of the pub burns down.
- Kobold Fight Club
- Tabletop Audio
- 2 Minute Table-top tokens
A sandbox campaign is not the best to use for getting a bit over the top in preparation, now that I can add doors, walls, proper distance, local sounds, background ambience and special effects. But, hey, I’m smart!
One feature we’re not using in FVTT much is their own 5e support - it’s only SRD and a bit clunkier and incomplete compared to dndbeyond. One player’s having a bit of fun with it but the others are just having everything auto-import.
I have set up some quiet ambiences, then forgotten they’re playing (they start on scene change) and confusing myself. Local sounds for fires and rivers have been fun although I don’t think I’d do much more than that. Maybe a hint for a secret? Would be a subtle hint that the player has to be listening for, though.
Dungeondraft imports work well, although Dungeondraft doesn’t understand secret doors. I now know, though, that FVTT does understand them and I can just leave in whatever hint on the map and then delete the wall after import.
I can also then go through and lock doors, and add sound effects.
Thought I’d list the modules I’m using
- Cautious Gamemaster’s Pack - GMs by default can ‘possess’ PC tokens and speak as them. I don’t want to do that (which I’ll do by accident) and my players didn’t like the idea either.
- Chat Portrait - Puts a pic of the token talking in the chat log, and colours it with the player’s colour. Not really necessary but I thought a good intro to FVTT
- Dice Tray - Offers some 🎲 pics to click on for manual rolls. Also not neccessary, but a nice intro
- Dungeondraft importer - does what it says
- FXMaster - Rain, spells, entirely frivolous
- PopOut - Allows any dialogue to be a separate browser window. I don’t use this as much as I thought but my players do.
- Tidy5e sheet - Makes the 5e sheet slightly prettier
Some I’m not using:
- Drag Upload - wasn’t going to use it as it makes my uploads messy but great for rush reactions. Drag a PNG up and it becomes an Actor, Tile, or Playlist depending on context. Great if I’ve forgotten something - turning it back on
- Dragonfire maps - nice intro to FVTT but not nice enough to back on Patreon and get more relevant ones
- Clocks - was going to use these for spell durations but they’re PbtA clocks and not so helpful helpe
I like EoI. It’s well thought-through, and the conversion doc is pretty robust. However it does have some OSR tropes that then stick out a bit like:
- “Save vs poison or die”
- “Lose a hand”
It could do with a full list of people - it does have a GM screen / gazetteer but doesn’t link between areas so well. I’m definitely technically-over-preparing the game as I’m playing with my VTT, but there’s prep needed as well to hook the different areas together a bit.
More lessons when they won’t be spoilers for the players.comments powered by Disqus