Monday, December 1, 2008

11/29 Game

I ran Saturday's game, and since it was basically a railroad there is no actual play. Also. . .taking notes and DMing may prove too much for me. Perhaps someone will be nice enough to take notes for me when I run next, since that will be in our *main* campaign. This post will mostly be a crunch nuts and bolts post, I really had a blast with the combat(s) we ran. Since we didn't get to play even half of what I had prepared, I'm putting it all up here. Maybe someone will, some day.

We had for this game:
Tank, a Dwarven Tempest Fighter played by Jesse
Juanita, a Tiefling Inspiring Warlord played by Jessica (our guest for this session!)
Ailef, a Human Wizard played by Dan
Syvus, a Snakeman Star Pact Warlord played by Colin
Bram, Human Beastmaster Rogue played by me as a DMPC.

A couple notes on the players, Colin was pretty much a reflavored Dragonborn, with poison as his chosen breath weapon type. I made a few pregens, mostly because I anticipated this session having a high death rate. I played the story appropriate one, but was pleasantly surprised by how he turned out.

Backstory/lead-in is all in the previous post. We jumped right in with the party and a couple dozen others (dubbed redshirts, actually these were re-enforcements. Were anyone to die, they would take control of one of these others). The group split up, with our party, led by Bram, heading towards the core of the Castle. A loud pounding grew steadily louder, and the party soon encountered this room:
They approached from the North, and since everyone was itching to go, no plan was made. As they entered the room they were spotted and initiative was rolled.
BB - 3 Bloodspike Behemoths
WT - 1 War Troll
O - 3 Orc Minions
D - 2 Displacer Beasts
T - 2 Trolls

In the center of the room is a portal. Initially it is dark, but at the bottom of the round it changes. The triangles are difficult terrain. The looping hallway to the East is a ramp that emerges 10 feet above the ground, into a kind of balcony. The Behemoths and War Troll are in the process of closing off the hallways by collapsing the arches over them. That was the noise heard. The Orcs are 'trainers', as long as the orc is controlling his behemoth I intended to play it intelligently, reflecting the leadership of the orc. The War Troll was the centerpiece of the battle, he had very high defenses and regeneration, his job was to keep one PC marked. At the end of the first round the Displacer Beasts and Trolls rush in from down the hall, and the portal changes. I rolled 1d8

1 - Fire: Any creature starting his turn within 2 squares takes 5 fire damage
2 - Beach: Water pours from the portal and pushes all the creatures at least 2 squares away, and is difficult terrain.
3 - Void - Nothingness, and an impressive suction pulls all creatures within 5 squares one closer.
4 - Leaves - A peaceful forest, with fall leaves swirling out
5 - Battle - Sounds of battle. Immediately before I roll again I roll +20 vs AC, 3d6 damage against the closest creature as an errant ballista bolt flies through.
6 - Thunderstorm - Dark and violent thunderstorm, +10 vs reflex against all within 2 squares on a hit 1d6 lightning damage.
7 - Icy mountaintop - Snowy white mountain with a powerful bust of wind that pushes anyone adjacent 1 square.
8 - Darkness - Malevolent darkness burst 2, total darkness, and anyone starting in the zone takes 5 necrotic damage.

If I happen to roll the same number again, I planned to on the fly amp up whatever effect I rolled. For example, towards the end I rolled 8 twice, and so the zone immediately grew one square bigger. I included this partially because I didn't know how the party would handle the trolls if they had no source of fire or acid damage. Dan's mage was focused on frost, so I included a way to 'finish them off'. A successful Arcana roll DC 30 would allow them to understand how to control the random switching and chose the portal they wanted. Fire, of course is the easy answer, but pushing a troll through, and then changing the portal's destination would have worked, too.

Unfortunately, despite this being a very dynamic and exciting battle, it did not have much to do with the two major features of the battlefield. The party was stuck in the bottleneck the entire fight. The Behemoths had high initiative and rushed forward, discouraging the three squishies from leaving the hall. The Fighter and Warlord were able to get past the difficult terrain, but by then they were surrounded and there *really* was little incentive to wander onto the floor. Some highlights:
- Dan threw out his Wall of Fire before the War Troll went, surrounding him with fire. In hindsight he regretted it, as it has such great damage potential and the ability to alter a battlefield.
- One behemoth went down quick, and the other two lingered under 20 HP for 4 or 5 rounds. Once the party felt the pain of the War Troll they focused on him instead.
- Displacer beasts are vicious in pairs. One moves in and delays, the other moves to flank and they each get 3 attacks. They dropped the Warlord at one point. One of them constantly lucked out on his Displacement roll.
- Fighers rock. Once the one displacer beast lost his displacement the fighter marked him. Every time he tried to shift away he was stopped by the fighter, and went down pretty fast.
- Rangers rock. While I didn't do much beastmastery things, I did use a lot of Martial Power content, and the Sharpshooter is great. Better than Battlefield Archer for sure.
- Colin never got Dark One's Own Luck to work. And every time Jesse used a certain power he rolled a 1. Twice in a row, even.

The fight lasted a loooooong time. Most of it was the level. We haven't played anything higher than 4th yet, and the options sometimes took a while to wade through. Jessica was new, and didn't take much longer than anyone else, if that puts things in perspective. The number of enemies also contributed, combat rounds got noticeably shorter as the number of enemies dropped.

I think I need to break these up. They are feeling long. Part two to come soon...



Samuel Van Der Wall said...

You're talented if you can run a game and keep notes on it for blogging later. I'm playing in a campaign right now and just playing + note taking is challenging. Cool tactics for your portal fight too.

Jay said...

Yeah. . .notes have quickly gone out the window. Luckily the adventure is 99% in my head, so the details of the world are gonna be there, I just lose the turn by turn combat descriptions.

This might be a good thing, I guess it depends on what you like!