Nov 06

Faculty Meeting # 62 – Synergy One-shot

TokHello and Welcome to Faculty Meetings: The general advice and discussion podcast from The RPG Academy.  This is  where we discuss topics that came up at our gaming table or yours

I am Michael, and this is Faculty Meeting # 62: Synergy One-Shot

In this episode, Caleb and I discuss what exactly a one-shot game is and then do a modified synergy session using the new MTG set of cards Khans of Tarkir



Shatter Tranquil.cove Rakshasas.secret Plains Naturalize Molting.Snakeskin mardu.roughrider Mardu.Hordechief Mardu.banner Hooded.hydra Glacial.Stalker Dragonscale.boon become.immenseAbzan.FalconerArrorw.Storm



As always, thanks for listening!



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    • Jerry H on November 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm
    • Reply

    For host nicknames, consider: Dean Fluff and Professor Crunch. 🙂

    • Joe L on November 8, 2014 at 3:29 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you for doing a synergy session with the MtG cards; I have been very curious as to how you conducted these brainstorming sessions since listening to the City of the Damned podcasts.

    (From what it looks like, this is just a random booster. I love how you guys are so casual about breaking a mythic rare as if it happens all the time 😀 )

    Here’s my shot at coming up with something from the cards above (I haven’t played much DnD so hopefully this doesn’t get too wild!):

    What really caught my eye was the three green cards: Hooded Hydra, Dragonscale Boon and Become Immense. So here’s my encounter miniature:

    The adventurers are stopped on their way to retrieve MacGuffin A by a band of Yuan-Ti lead by a witch. She tells the adventurers that she has been hunting them through the forest and feels oh so very hungry. Before they know it, a green mist envelops the five yuan-ti, obscuring them from view.

    A five-headed hydra appears! (very power rangers) Standard hydra from 5e monster manual….except: whenever the adventurers deal enough damage to take out a hydra head, it explodes into a shower of green crystals and a slightly weakened yuan-ti drops from the hydra, ready to take on the adventurers

    When the last head of the hydra is felled, the rest of the body of the hydra is shattered into green crystal shards and the very weakened yuan-ti witch lies amongst the debris. (The way I imagine it is that the hydra is definitely organic looking but crystallises and explodes when the requisite damage is dealt). The adventurers can then deal with the witch as they see fit.

    When the adventurers examine the debris, they find a few (say no. of adventurers * d4) faintly glowing green crystals that are in the shape of snake scales (vaguely hexagonal). The rest are dull and in smaller pieces (think broken green bottles). These magical crystal shards can then be crushed in later fights to give a temporary boost to AC and damage. The visual effect being a green glow to their entire body
    –This is where my relatively little understanding of DnD mechanics comes into play: are there often consumable buff items?

    And that’s it! It’s a pretty direct translation of the flavour and mechanics from those three cards but I hope it makes sense from a D&D perspective and I would love to hear your comments.

    Anyway, that was very fun for me and I’ll definitely use this method in the future (thinking of drawing randomly from my cube to come up with ideas)

    1. Joe,
      Thanks for the comment. Always nice to hear back from someone. I really like the idea of the Gestalt Hydra. Rather than deal with regenerating heads (which everyone would be expecting) have the weaker versions drop out. I really will be stealing that in the near future.

      Potions are the most common consumable buff items, but nothing to say you can’t have more. I think many players would get a kick out of something like that.

      You’ve got some great ideas there. When you are you going to DM?


        • Joe L on November 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm
        • Reply

        I’m looking to get a couple of friends together in the near future to run through The Lost Mines of Phandelver before going off-piste with Synergy created adventures!

        Thanks for the reply back, just listened to your recap on the City of the Damned podcast and while it was a long time ago for you, I’ve only just finished the Actual Plays about a month ago so great timing for me. I thought it was a fantastic series and I’m really looking forward to the rest of your new 5e campaign series.

        1. Joe,
          Thanks! Glad you are enjoying it. Good luck with Lost Mines. I only played one session of it, but I’ve heard it can be deadly. Watch out for overpowered encounters. A couple bad rolls or poor tactics and you can wipe a party.


    • Andrew "That One GM" Young on November 13, 2014 at 2:32 pm
    • Reply

    I chose to create my synergy idea using the card images in the exact order they were presented here on the site. I also tried to keep it short and sweet, and I think I finally succeeded at the former.

    The Hordechief’s sword, his symbol of power, is shattered in battle.
    The tribes, gathered in the cove to prepare for assault, abandon the Hordechief.
    A cunning rakshasa plots a coup of the tribes.
    The desert fortress, the target of the Hordechief, prepares for war.
    The Hordechief’s drakkensteed is consumed by a magical disease.
    The Hordechief’s advisor is revealed as Yuan-Ti spy from the desert fortress.
    A powerful warrior, backed by the rakshasa, makes a bid for leadership.
    The Hordechief leads an underpowered assault on the desert fortress.
    The Hordechief’s banner is taken by the Yuan-Ti spy.
    The desert fortress releases a monster upon the seiging forces of the Hordechief.
    An icebeast is summoned and battled by the potential Hordechiefs’ chosen warriors to determine the new Hordechief.
    The Yuan-Ti steals the last remaining symbol of the Hordechief’s power: the dragonscale mail.
    The Yuan-Ti is driven mad with power, grows to colossal size, and attacks both the desert fortress and the Hordechief’s forces.
    The desert fortress provides a giant falcon to be ridden by the Hordechief’s chosen warriors to fight the Yuan-Ti monstrosity.
    The tribes band together under the new Hordechief to fight the Yuan-Ti from horseback, firing arrows into its scaly hide.

    This is probably too long for a one-shot, but it might make a fun adventure for characters traveling through the area. Perhaps the rakshasa is an old enemy of the PCs; maybe the desert fortress hold important information; or perhaps the PCs need the united tribes of the Hordechief in order to battle another army fast approaching their home.

      • Andrew "That One GM" Young on November 13, 2014 at 3:09 pm
      • Reply

      Blerp. I made my response before you guys described your synergy ideas in the show, hence before Caleb made the specifications for the synergy being a one-shot or a single encounter. Ah well. I stand by it as a single adventure idea, but it’s likely to run two or three sessions.

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