D&D Encounters Field Reports (Week 12)

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Use this thread to discuss your experiences with week 12 of D&D Encounters. 

Please realise that both players and DMs read these threads, so do not put spoilers in your posts. If your post goes into enough details, then you absolutely must use spoilers. Enclose the spoilery bit in [*sblock=spoiler stuff][*/sblock]  (just remove the *) spoiler block tags so that players who haven't played yet don't have the surprise ruined for them. 

[*sblock=spoilerey stuff]

blahblahblah

[*/sblock]

will produce

spoilerey stuff


blahblahblah


once you remove the *.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
We got very lucky.

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Instead of me getting my teeth kicked in, our Defender managed to get alot of drowning in most of the game. Though in his first turn he got some 3 attacks in doing ~40 to Xeres. ..and then proceeded to drown the rest of the encounter except for one round. The massive area blast of Xeres laid out some serious pain with our DM rolling near max damage on it both times though somehow missing both our controller and myself both times. Our DM rolled terribly for the Elves who were unable to hit unconscious people passed out on the ground on both their turns. Then one got vaporized by Xeres. I managed to end the encounter by finally getting near Xeres and doing ~50 damage in one turn (between Disheartening Strike, dazing with the daily power on my Resounding weapon, and then critting Termination Threat [making it appropriately named] with the Sneak Attack dice added in for daze. Though the rest of our party barely got out alive. Our Ranger went down to 1 HP in two attack then sat there for two rounds as everything missed him. Our Defender spent all but two rounds in the negative and our Leader took a decent beating. Only the Controller and I managed to not be pummeled to the brink of doom
Guardian Games in Portland had three tables of successful heroes! The adventurers vanquished the evil foe, then gathered together for a quick (and very painless) distribution of reward cards based on renown. A lot of this is due to our organizer, who has run a very smooth encounter program and worked to create a very strong relationship with the store.

For my table, I decided to modify the author's idea on the pool.
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Instead of the healing pool that restored surges, I did the following.
  1. I set them up just past the pit from the previous encounter as they finished climbing and taking the short rest. I read the boxed text about Xeres making his escape and the sound of them moving on

  2. I compared their passive insight and they spotted the choker, which I had be just past the small pool

  3. We rollled initiative. Only the monk went first. I gave him a full round to attack the critter, which then ran away (opportunity attack).

  4. A door of iron then suddenly materialized before them

The door was an RP device replacing the idea of the healing pool. The wall/door seemed to be of iron, carved to have the shape of a large mouth with a long hanging tongue, short nose, and closed eyes. However, behind the closed eyelids the PCs could see the iron move, as if the eyeballs were moving behind it.

They approached cautiously. Eventually, it spoke to them in a deep voice. It asked each PC a question. One PC attacked it, and as an immediate interrupt it used the tongue to push her back several squares (no damage). It was basically just an RP device. Here are the questions I asked, one per PC, rolling randomly, all meant to make the players think about their PC:
  1. Which team member do you admire most, and why? (the paladin answered that he valued all of them, awesome)

  2. Tell me something of your past, which made you that which you are today. (Druid did an awesome job with RP and backstory, so they received a +1 on their first attack in the next encounter)

  3. What is best? Courage of Caution? And why? (The monk, who always has a hard time deciding what to do and always is cautious, did not surprise us by choosing caution)

  4. What do you hope your future will hold for you?

  5. If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be? (Runepriest talked about their runes)

  6. Tell me of a lesson you have learned; what has Undermountain taught you?

  7. Who are you? What defines you? What is your essence? (Dragonborn cleric talked about their defender nature)

I liked how it played out. As each PC answered a part of the door/wall seemed to shift. Eventually it seemed to both open and disappear, as if it had departed for a different section of Undermountain. Each PC received a healing surge or two.


the encounter was a challenge to run. I had trouble not having too much control. Also, it was hard to scale for a party of 7.

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With 7, I just added a spider and gave Xeres 10 more HPs. That was actually more than I needed. I probably should have used a choker, maybe under the bridge and to come up behind a PC.

But, I just had more control than I needed. The first PC to approach Xeres received his readied action: dragonborn cleric into the water! The second PC was grabbed by the choker. The next PCs hung back. Eventually my first spider went after the runepriest, prone and in the water. All the other PCs were ranged.

I actually had one of my spiders miss multiple turns as they awaited a PC to actually engage Xeres. The encounter had a lot of potential to frustrate players, so I had to pull punches. For example, I changed the bridge to give a -2 to attacks if you failed the balance check. Knocking them prone would have been way too much!

The one elf was in a bad spot, being unable to target the PCs that hung back and not getting their skirmish accuracy. So, I had him try to climb down.. and then he fell down. Oh, well. The other archer did work well. I would suggest just putting both arches in the lower far area.

The river worked well, generating some nice opportunities for PCs with OAs, but also causing some PCs trouble. The dragonborn spent most of the combat using lance of faith from the river. (They were stuck on the bodies). The runepriest was in the water a lot, but finally made it up and delt the killing blow on Xeres.

Xeres was formidable, especially his blast. It was very strong. Two PCs have the ability to grant a large number of temps. If it were not for that, the encounter would have been very brutal! Still, the PCs (especially the paladin) rolled very high and did a good deal of damage to him.

The players and PCs were both surprised by Xeres' transformation. They eventually healed Fayne, and were glad when she helped. One PC asked her about her nature, which cued the ending boxed text as she revealed her true self and answered the player's questions.


Overall, the table seemed to have a good time. The fight was challenging and I hope the players appreciate how good they have become since they started the adventure 12 weeks ago!

Kudos to WotC, Erik the author, and Chris Tulach and the RPGA for an excellent 12 weeks.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

Hi, everyone-

A very successful final session of Undermountain Encounters at Modern Myths in Nortampton, MA. We had 2 tables with 10 players, and though we ran a ltitle over, both completed the adventure and had a great time.

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At my own table, we had a Runepriest, two Rogues, a Barbarian, and a Paladin. One of the players was a long-time D&D vet, the other 4 were all new to 4e as of Encounters, and 2 of them were yuong players, about 12 and 14 respectively, but engaged and serious about the game.

They got off to a good start by spotting the Choker, but took a few rounds to get goingon hitting anything. Xeres went untouched for the first few rounds staning on the bridge over Thawn and striking at the PCs with relative impunity as they concentrated on the spider and archers. The Choker grabbed the paladin in Round 1 and they ended up in a standoff for several rounds, the paladin's high AC keeping the choker from hurting him but his lousy encumbered Athletics meaning he couldn't break the Grab. One of the Rouges finally broke off from the Xeres fight to make a desperate jump with his Dazing Strike, and hit, knocking the Choker off its perch where the party pummedled it dead in a single roud.

After that, they eventually turned it arund, the barbarian leaping the river to get at the archers and carving them up very quickly (one actually dove into the river to get away from him), the spider just getting beat down by eventual attrition. They were having real trouble with Xeres until they decided to take an action wake up Thawn (I described in detail how his aura of slashing swords was just sort of sliding off of her, as it didn't have any effect, and they got the hint!) They ticked off his aura JUST before they bloodied him and it was over pretty quickly after that.

In all, it was a GREAT Encounter, with lots of movement, several of the heroes AND villains going into the river and being swpt along, 3 of the 5 characters going to 0 HP and getting back up again, two of them more than once, including one super-dramatic nat-20 Death Save the very round after a crit from Xeres took down an unbloodied PC. It ended up being really well-balanced and exciting, they had a great time. I had Thawn ask the Runepriest to lop of Xeres' antlers so she could mount them in her den before kicking his body into the river. : )



The corrections made a huge difference, and the extra flavor text was well-received. I'm really looking forward to Dark Sun next week.

Thanks to the author and the Community members for this extra bit of supprt that has really helped me as a DM. Now on to Athas!
Jim Crocker, Managing Partner Modern Myths, LLC Northampton, MA www.modern-myths.com
Our DM took pity on us. 
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  We had a party of 6, but we were all down to 0-2 healing surges and most of us at less than full HP.  Since the previous encounters hammered us so much (and I fear the errata wasn't accessed), we were in poor shape.  While we managed to kill the spider and both elves, the main villan Xeres decided to go invisible and flee when confronted by Fayne.  We never even got him to bloodied.  Again I think the DM didn't quite get the point that monster 'encounter' powers are usuable only once unless there is a recharge fearture available to them.  But still overall a memorable and fun adventure!

I would ask in the future WotC could have a direct post to the forums or email through WPN to give vital updates on the typos and errors each week.  That would really help player and DM frustration a lot.  While many DM's are great at keeping the pacing, challenge, and thrill of the game, many are still learning.  Just a thought!
Ah, the last game went fairly well I thought. Things weren't nearly as dire as they looked and I left most things at the written challenge level.

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Not much to tell. We ran three tables and I don't think any of them had any deaths. They were all challenged (my PC came out of Chapter 3 with 0 surges and 23/36 hit points and that's only because of a Shaman daily).

For stories, I'll describe the table I ran as GM. I had the party deal with the choker ahead of time, as per the suggestions given and then let them discover Xeres further into the cavern.

At first things went really well for them. Xeres and the archers got initiative and readied for the party to come into view (since most of the party was hiding around the corner and the only party member in the room was hiding after triggering the encounter. The archers managed to get their attacks off but Xeres didn't get any takers (well none within range of his Lightning Binding) so he lost a round. Then on round 2, Xeres missed with his first attack and even after hitting with his second, he was now face to face with a Warden. While the spider was at least knocking around a few squishies like the assassin, Xeres very quickly ended up bloodied and in the river. This is not good.

However, the party gathered around the spider and ended up creating an opening for Xeres. A teleport into invisibility, followed by a combat-advantaged Hellfire Spiral, resulted in the following before and after pictures.



Ruh roooh, raggy!

This resulted in a reprieve for Xeres who lasted a whole two rounds more and threatened the lives of the heroes. Not to worry, only one PC in that bunch ever fell unconscious, and then due to regen 2, (thanks, Mr. Shaman!) woke right back up again.

But the Assassin took her revenge, nailing Xeres ... with a shroud only. Still, don't look gift damage from a striker miss in the mouth.

All in all, fun times.


Party:
Level 2 "lazy" Warlord|Artificer (experienced)
Level 2 Avenger (experienced)
Level 2 Barbarian|Sorcerer (new)
Level 2 Swordmage (new)
Level 1 Swarm druid (new)
Level 2 Psion (new)
Level 2 Seeker (new)

spoilers
Our party had very little problem: our three controllers kept Xeres in one spot for the first two rounds, and the warlord|artificer's early use of his daily power revealed the grappler guy early on.  The grappler went down fast due to the tag-team brutality of the avenger and the avenger-wielding warlord|artificer, the the spider followed soon after (and didn't land a single hit against the frontliners' massive AC)

Unfortunately these victories were bought with the life of the defender, the lone swordmage, as he took the lead and was pelted with a hail of arrows from the archers.  The leader used both his healing abilities on him as he lay dying, but he never really got back in the fight; he was shot by an archer as he fled.  By then, however, Xeres had lost both his heavy hitters, and was dispatched with relative ease.  After that is was a fairly easy mop-up, with our ranged attackers dropping prone at the ends of their turns to spar with the archers.  The avenger had fallen, but was stabilized, though the swordmage lost his life to failed saves.

In the end, excellent tactics won the day.
My D&D Encounters experience ended with my PC being killed, stripped of his possessions and his dead body being kicked over a waterfall, left there to rot with all of the other members of the party.

That pretty much sums up how I feel about this season.

I can't blame the DM.  He has run the module pretty much as written, letting the dice fall as they may (and they fell on many a dead PC and more than one TPK).  I continue to find it mindboggling that the author of this travesty insists that it is a myth that anyone plays this way.

This module appears to have been designed to challenge a group of experienced players with well-designed characters.  Had I such a group, it is possible I would have found this season more fun.  Sadly, this module was not written for a group which contains relatively new players with the first D&D character they ever designed (or who simply don't know how to or don't want to create optimized characters).

For future seasons, I would suggest that combats actually be playtested, that the author state any implicit assumptions he's making about how DMs will run the encounters, and that the combats be designed for the level of player the program claims it is trying to reach.
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Woah!  Had 7 players show up this week and still no leader!  Not that they needed it, though, the minotaur assassin critted on Xeres right out of the gates, followed by another crit from the sorcerer.  Xeres was bloodied by the end of round 1.

All was not on the player's side, though.  Xeres and the Choker killed the swordmage, incapacitated the fighter, and sent the shardmind upriver (stupid boots of water walking..who's idea was it to give them to him, anyway...oh, wait).

All in all, this was an epic end to the night; Crits on both side of the DM screen, moments of greatness, hilarious puns, all leading up to the rogue killing a blind and furious Xeres.

Can't wait for season 2
Aero Hobbies in Santa Monica, CA reporting in. This encounter was by far the most fun of all the encounters to date. It was hard, the terrain worked, the PC's all had chances to shine and so did the monsters.

My changes
I was afraid that the PCs wouldn't enter the room, that they would stay at range and not engage the terrain. I made the following changes:
  • I started the PCs farther back in the hallway using the map as designed. The written (but not drawn) room I found quite confusing.

  • I put the scaled-up cavern choker in the pile of rocks near the entrance.

  • Xeres held Fayne in front of him. I told the party she gave him superior cover and any ranged attacks that missed by the cover amount (5 or less) would hit Fayne instead.

  • Fayne was at 1hp but unconscious. I calculated her to have a bloodied value of 35hp. As soon as she dropped below zero, I started making death saves for her. This made the party collective soil their knickers.

  • Once a PC engaged Xeres in melee, he threw Fayne in the river, giving her autodamage, and washing her away.

The result
It ran exactly as planned. The PCs gunned down the first choker then entered the room, spreading out. PCs that would normally alpha strike the encounter to death spent significant time fishing Fayne out of the river—she had failed two death saves before a PC spent some healing to wake her up and pull down Xeres' aura (right after he teleported to the center of many PCs).

The wizard blew the two archers (scaling for seven) off of the cliff and into the water. These archers were great high-damage minions—the monk dropped one in a single attack.

The warlock crit the DJ spider, who in turn pounced across the room, doing enough damage to drop him with ongoing.

With one monster left, the warlock crit again, this time on the Seeker being used as a body shield by the second choker. One of the other PCs had already trigger the choker's attack so it made for a good laugh.

The monk was a single saving throw away from being washed down the waterfall which was nice because that was the only way I could threaten the hyper-optimized character.


In all, this encounter was masterful. The monster selection seemed weird at first, but it really worked. The terrain lacked a little detail, but really made the PCs think. Had I used more optimal tactics it would not have been difficult to make this a deadly encounter. But DMing D&D Encounters has made me learn that to make things memorable and exciting, you can't DM like a death robot. I wanted the to remember the last session for being epic, and Enc. 3-4 delivered.

[spoiler]


It went pretty well.


The DM rolled his dice in the open for the session, which lent an additional aura of 'fffffff' to the proceedings. We had a couple of extra archers.


Most of the party was out of healing surges by the end, one or two going in without any. This would have been fatal for at least the Warlord if the DM hadn't decided to let the modifiers on surge-using healing work on people without surges. Augment 1 Exhilirating Strike is awesome, of course, and saved the Warlord's hide when he went negative without surges.


Oddly I finished with more than half HP and several surges left, probably because I'm a greatspear-wielding Ardent who stays a square back from most **** and uses the meatshields as, well, meatshields.


Even with four leaders we still ran out of healing. (Bard, Warlord, Cleric and Ardent. Just needed a Shaman for all power sources and an Artificer for all the leader classes. ) And of course surges for the close in types.


I wound up on the bridge most of the time, trying to get the spider dead and off the Warlord. People kept getting pulled into the water by Xerxes.


Indeed, our two last heals went to the Bard, who had fallen in and was literally 'dead in the water' due to being negative, though it did lead to a Crowning Moment Of Awesome wherein I stabbed the spider I was fighting, sucked up an AoO to go past it and get in Ardent Surge range and heal him, and since he was still going to need more healing I used an action point for Dimension Swap on the Warlord, which also finally got him away from the spider and got the Bard his healing.


I spent most of the rest of the fight with the spider, which suited my Corellon Larethian-worshiping character just fine, who kept missing me. We traded misses a couple of times and there were some jokes about the spider being confused because my character is a Drow and about secret drow handshakes.


At one point the Warlord granted me a basic attack for lack of anything better to do. My character totally dumped STR and has 8. I managed to hit. Hilarity.


The heavy hitters managed to get to Xerxes and took him down like the punk he was the very round the poor Bard, who never had managed to get OUT of the water, would have been washed down the hole. We retrieved our Bard and emerged victorious from the battle for a final reading from the Book Of Errors.


[spoiler]


All in all I had a lot of fun and enjoyed this season.

It's spelled Corellon Larethian, not Correlon, Correllon, Correlllon, Corellion, Correlian or any other way of getting it wrong. I'm a total grognard and I still play 4E.
3 Full Tables for the final night at Hobby Town in Lincoln NE (1 ended in a TPK, while the other two groups triumphed). A night of epic moments all the way around the table as two clerics, a barbarian, a battlemind, a warlord and a hobgoblin bard faced off against
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Xeres, a pair of chokers, a pair of archers and a pair of spiders: One of the clerics (pre-gen) spent 3/4 of the combat locked up with one of the chokers (and amazingly, never went negative as waves of healing kept getting thrown his way); the barbarian critted on a daily when hitting the other choker and one-shotted it as it failed a death save against the massive damage; the battlemind tied a rope across the river at the lower end which ended up being the saving point for two separate characters being swept towards the waterfall; the dwarven cleric used the healing boost from his magical chainmail combined with his healing daily to restore huge amount of health (unbloodying everyone) to all but the battlemind who was out of range; the warlord took a running leap onto the bridge to allow the barbarian to take an extra attack against Xeres; and the bard (who ended up taking about 80 points of damage through the fight) opened the combat with a daily (giving 4 hit points anytime a character hit Xeres for the rest of the fight) and an action point, and finished it up by sacrificing himself (at one hit point) to expend a final Vicious Mockery at Xeres, killing him off even as the bard dropped.


Had a great time, and thanks to Joel T. for DM'ing our table throughout the season - he kept things fun, even when the dice and monsters conspired against us.

Kharybdis, Hobgoblin Bard

Frustrating, that is how I label the entire bunch of "Encounters" Our party consisted of experienced      4E  players.  We had a paladin, warlock, barbarian, cleric, and sorceress. Final conclusion was TPK!  Our broken bodies washing down the waterfall.  Previous encounters had the DM hitting us (never missing) for half the encounter until one or two of us left standing and then suddenly (behind is DM screen) never hit again while we find potions to heal guys.  The DM was wondering why we went from too many guys to play to nobody showing up?  Hmmm, I wonder?  I just played to finish it off, I'm not playing the next one.  I DID NOT HAVE FUN!  I think many of the people that played didn't either.  I don't know if it was the DM or the module but when a group of 1-2 level characters are high level elite soldiers, it's game over.  I'll stick to my LFR campaign where I have fun.
Austino's LFR CHARACTERS Ander Darkfoot - 12 - Halfling - Rogue/Daggermaster Miget Lii - 12 - Dragonborn - Paladin/Champion of Order Belfire Ogrecrush - 13 - Dwarf - Weaponmaster/Dreadnaught Dragonheart - 5 - Dragonborn - Sorcerer Shadowflame - 4 - Drow - Assassin Big Daddy - 3 - Goliath - Barbarian Utua - 4 - Shardmind - Artificer Terminator - 1 - Warforged - Barbarian Bladyis - 4 - Elven - Ranger
Glad to hear about folks having a good time, and my condolences to those whose characters bit it. This was indeed a tough encounter, as befits the end of a campaign.

For the record, I'll reiterate (in this thread like in others) why the "play as written" is a myth.

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You can't play it "as written," simply because the module doesn't contain strict instructions--it doesn't answer all the questions--and two DMs who try to play it "as written" often yield two very different results. I come on these boards every week and am *amazed* at how DMs run things "as written"--seeing how different it is from how I run it (and I wrote the darn thing!).

A varying interpretation of one small element of an encounter that the author doesn't specify (an unspecified height of a ceiling, for instance, or whether PCs fall prone into the freezing river or are still standing) can make a huge difference that changes the entire tone of the encounter.

Instead, a well written adventure relies upon DM judgment to choose appropriate tactics, ad-hoc rulings, and the occasional strategic fudging to challenge your PCs without annihilating them. Every adventure ever written does this, and this approach has been advocated in every DMG since the beginning of the game.

The purpose of the game is fun, not slavish adherence to one particular interpretation (an interpretation that does not necessarily reflect my intention, as above noted).

I don't mean to force my views on anyone, and if you view the game in a different way, that's totally your prerogative. This is just the way I look at it, my logical basis, and my stated intention. If it worked for you, then great. If not, well, sorry about that.


Cheers
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Xeres, a pair of chokers, a pair of archers and a pair of spiders: One of the clerics (pre-gen) spent 3/4 of the combat locked up with one of the chokers (and amazingly, never went negative as waves of healing kept getting thrown his way); the barbarian critted on a daily when hitting the other choker and one-shotted it as it failed a death save against the massive damage; the battlemind tied a rope across the river at the lower end which ended up being the saving point for two separate characters being swept towards the waterfall; the dwarven cleric used the healing boost from his magical chainmail combined with his healing daily to restore huge amount of health (unbloodying everyone) to all but the battlemind who was out of range; the warlord took a running leap onto the bridge to allow the barbarian to take an extra attack against Xeres; and the bard (who ended up taking about 80 points of damage through the fight) opened the combat with a daily (giving 4 hit points anytime a character hit Xeres for the rest of the fight) and an action point, and finished it up by sacrificing himself (at one hit point) to expend a final Vicious Mockery at Xeres, killing him off even as the bard dropped.




A couple of notes about this. 1) It looks like your GM really upped the challenge level, even accounting for a "strong" table. 2) There is no massive damage save in 4E. Unless I'm missing something or you used a term in a way I don't use it, which is possible. I think your DM is stuck using a 3.5 concept that no longer applies.
This module appears to have been designed to challenge a group of experienced players with well-designed characters.  Had I such a group, it is possible I would have found this season more fun.  Sadly, this module was not written for a group which contains relatively new players with the first D&D character they ever designed (or who simply don't know how to or don't want to create optimized characters).



I've run throughout the season with new players mixed in with experienced players, with none but a one or two optimized characters and none of them optimized parties (where I consider a party optimized if all the players get together and understand the ways to play well off one another's characters and take advantage of everyone's strengths). For the most part I've rolled out in the open and I've pulled only a few of my punches (by using non-optimal tactics). We've only come close to a TPK once and even then it was avoided. We've had deaths (the room with the eladrin trapped in the sphere), I've pitched PCs over the edge of a tower, I've forgotten errata (even last night I was rolling 1d10 instead of 1d6 on some attacks) and yet ... we've not had anywhere near the experience that you and cartigan complain about.

I have to assume, that since much of this game is based on chance (they are dice after all), there are liable to be tables on either end of the tails of the distribution, both extremely difficult and extremely easy. We've seen neither. That's not to discount your experience, but I don't want you to go away feeling that the season was -all- like this. Nor that the mod, as written, can't result in fun.

Given your comments, I feel like you don't want your DM to roll "come what may", that you don't want your GM to run the game with the most cut-throat tactics possible. Because even if the elite last night had been dropped a level, I suspect you'd still have had a TPK. And that may have less to do with XP budgets or encounter design than your particular play style (or the DMs). You might want to have that conversation with them.
We had a great night.  No deaths, but a couple people went unconscious and everyone ended the encounter well into bloodied.

I also managed to get my moment of greatness along with my co-worker, who's moment of greatness out-shined my own.

Spoilers


Our group of 5 consisted of:  Monk, Bard, Druid/Warden Hybrid, and 2 Dragonborn Sorcerers (one of which is played by myself).

Round 1:  Our monk was bloodied and I was attacked only once (by the choker).  The bard pushed the choker into the water and Xeres was hit pretty hard by the monk.  The warden/druid jumped across the river successfully.

Round 2:  We killed off the spider and the choker was still heading down river.  The monk was in the water thanks to Xeres, but was also healed by the bard.

Round 3:  The warden/druid got bloodied by Xeres.  The monk was still in the water and now bloodied.  Xeres took some damage and the choker managed to save out of the water.  The archers both missed.

Within the first 3 rounds, we managed to kill the spider, get a few nice hits on Xeres and knock the choker into the water (who saved out of the water right before it went down the hole).  On the flip side, we had already used both of our bard's heals, the monk was in the water, the druid/warden was bloody, and I used my second wind.

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Round 4:  I used an athletics check to pull the monk out of the water (I asked the DM first, since technically the monk was restrained).  I then used an action point + Sorcerous Sirocco to fly myself and the monk into a more tactical position.  He was now adjacent to an archer and I was in a position to give a healing potion to Fayne (which, at that point, I wasn't sure would do anything).  Xeres, after taking a little damage, pulled the other sorcerer into the water, which bloodied him.  He then vanished.  One archer missed, the other archer hit the bard.

Round 5:  One of the archers stepped in front of fayne (blocking me from giving her a potion), so I used dragonfrost, and pushed him past Fayne, but not into the water (yet).  The other archer was pinned between the bard and the monk, so he was pretty much out of it at this point.  Our sorcerer actually got knocked unconscious in the water on his turn, so our DM let him roll a save to see if he escaped the water.   And, like a beached whale, he managed to save and roll onto the rocks.

Round 6:  The archer was the most threatening to me at this point, so I decided to dispatch him immediately.  I used dragonfrost and pushed him into the water.  My plans were to revive Fayne the next round, but the next series of events stopped me from doing so.  The druid/warden, went over to the sorcerer and used his standard to administer a potion.

Rounds 4-6: We have a monk, druid/warden and a sorcerer bloodied.  We have an invisible Xeres and a Choker trying to make its way back to us on the other side of the map to get to us.  We now have an archer in the water and an archer pinned between a monk and bard.  Things are looking up for us, until Round 7.

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Round 7:  The archer gets bloodied at the top of the round when the monk attacks him, the other archer gets swept under the bridge by the river current.  Xeres makes his grand appearance close to the dragonborn sorc and the warden/druid.  He pulls the sorcerer into the water and I return the favor by using dragonfrost on him to push him into the water (which bloodies him).  On the sorcerer's turn, he gets slid two squares and determines that he will take 9 damage (Xeres's aura + water damage) and will die his next turn.

Round 8 (My moment of greatness):  The monk dispatches both archers this round and the other archer dies to the river damage and the monk's flurry attack.  Xeres floats by, pulls himself to shore and then uses lighting lure on the the druid/warden and pulls him into the water, as well.  I have a choice to make.  I can use one of my two potions on Fayne to see if she actually does anything, or try to move my speed to jump onto the little island and then jump from there to the opposite side to use my standard to give the potion to the other sorcerer who would go unconscious this round.  I am trained in athletics (11 total), and in order for me to complete these jumps, i can't make any running starts.  So, I have to roll a 10 or higher for the first jump and then a 19 or higher on the second jump to get to the other side safely.

So, I roll my 20 for the first roll.  It seemed to roll forever and each bounce seemed like an eternity.  It finally came to a stop on:  a 10.  WHEW! I made my first jump.  My next jump would be a bit harder, but I rolled away.  As before, each bounce was longer than the last.  It came to a spin and I saw it.  A mixture of laughter, cheers and probably some joyful crying came from the table as my 20 sided die hit exactly a 19.

So, I administered the potion and he had 10 hp left, and was about to take 9 on the start of his turn.

The sorcerer manages to save out of the water and goes onto shore.  The choker is now hiding (invisible to us at this point).

Round 9:  The monk, knowing my plans to revive Fayne, went over to her and administered a potion.  This removed Xeres aura, which had been kicking our butts' at this point.  The monk then started to make his way to the other side of the cavern to assist in killing the Choker/Xeres.  The warden/druid fell unconscious in the water, but managed to wash up ashore.  I jumped (with a running start) across the water and administered my last potion to the warden/druid.

Rounds 7-9 were full of action for me.  I managed to knock Xeres into the water, make my jump, and administer two potions.  The rest of the party were able to down 2 archers, keep the other sorcerer alive and revive Fayne.

===========================================================

Round 10 (co-worker's moment of greatness):  The choker finally made it's way to us and grabbed the sorcerer (who had used second wind prior to getting choked), so he didn't die.  The monk, sorcerer, and bard dispatch the choker pretty easily while a very bloodied Xeres used his fire burst attack on us (doing only 1 damage to us dragonborn sorcerers).  Xeres tried to escape while we were all prone, but it was the druid/warden's turn to act.  Not being able to move, nor being able to attack 8 squares away (which is where Xeres was), the warden/druid did what he had to:  he improvised.

He looked around and grabbed a rock on the ground.  He took aim and fired with all his Dwarven might!  I couldn't believe it, but the rock actually hit! Now it was time to roll the damage.  He grabbed his 1d4 and rolled.  He got a 3 and it killed Xeres.  There was an uproar as laughter filled the room.

The mighty Xeres wasn't dropped by a sorcerer's blast or a monk's fist.  He wasn't brought down by a bard's song or a warden's steel blade.  Xeres, the great Swordmage, was killed by a rock.




As a side-note, I loved encounters.  I really enjoyed the challenge and loved that it wasn't just a cake walk like most of the games I play.  I really look forward to the Dark Sun Encounters and hope that it will be just as challenging and rewarding as its predecessor.

-Elleron

4 players so I removed 1 elf

I had
lvl 2 shardmind ardent
lvl 2 runepriest dwarf
lvl 2 drow assassin
lvl 1 tiefling psion

They all had fun and in the end they were all down to single digits. I freeformed some of the encounter ,didn't follow the box text and everyone had fun.

spoilerey stuff

So they round the corner and there is Xeres waving the portal key on the far side of the bridge. The combat starts.
The dwarf runs and jumps over the river to land on the other side. He is set up by the spider.
The assassin rushes the bridge and starts to get sniped by the elf on the top of the waterfall. She is quickly down to single hp from those hits. She drops a cloud of darkness and shifts two. Then with 3 good hits with her shrouds she drops the elf.
The ardent gets pulled closer to Xeres with the lighting power he makes the save to not fall off the bridge. From where he is he shardswarms behind Xeres using the Encounter power of the Foci of the Apprentice. Yes, it came into play.

So back to the dwarf and the spider, it was a battle of wiffing. Noone connected until after Xeres was already down. The spider never hit once during the fight. I should have supected that when the spider rolled a 1 for the first death from above it would set the tone.

Now back to the main fight, the psion drops his daily which connects and caused Xeres to take psychic damage for the next 4 rounds. He keeps failing his saves, that adds up.

The shardmind gets a few more hits in and Xeres disappears with the fey teleport. Xeres goes after the dwarf ,but to no avail as he misses as well. The rest of the gang catches up and quickly beats him until negs. He falls into the river right next to the dwarf and spider dance. The dwarf realizes that Xeres still has the portal key and therefore makes a grab for him to try to pull him out of the river. I made it a pretty high DC for it was a cold and fast river. The rest of the party kills the spider and then tries to assist pulling the body from the icy current. They all take cold damage attempting with only the dwarf with enough hp left to attempt one final time to prevent Xeres from falling off the waterfall and they roll high enough to pull him out.

So they promptly loot the body and wake up Fayne. She kicks the body and tries to push it back into the river ,but the PC's prevent her telling her that it is better that he rots where he is.

She acquiesces and then gives the party their money and then does the show and tell reveal then disappears. So that causes the party to do a collective faceplant.
James Playing D&D since the Red Box of '83.
Wow!! Last night was a blast!! 

Spoiler

I had 12 players at my table (11 players last week). I scaled the encounter appropriately, in addition to a few more monsters I added a love interest for Xeres who fought beside him during the combat (with some great dialog between them to boot). Also had him holding Fayne as a shield/hostage (found that hint on the forums) and the players hit her far more often the Xeres (it was awesome). At one point one of the players basically told Xeres that he should drop Fayne and face him, so that is just what he did… he dropped her into the river and teleported to shore and his lover followed. Several players’ mouths dropped open, what a great moment. I had put an extra Choker under the bridge (another idea from the forums) but never got a chance to bring him out because of time constraints. Our session ran for almost 3 hours but it only seemed like 10 minutes. The forums were very helpful with corrections but I enjoyed reading how others were going to run their encounters. The Dark Sun session will have 5 DMs so the group sizes will be more manageable. However, because I was determined to not turn anyone away we picked up about 10 new players and several more experienced players new to 4e. 

Wow!! Last night was a blast!! 

Spoiler

I had 12 players at my table (11 players last week).

12 players? That's remarkable--particularly if you could keep everything flowing! Kudos!

Cheers

Our combat was different then the one's being discribed here. Maybe it's how we played the mod that made it frustrating.

[sblock = spoilery stuff]

I don't know what the monsters initiative was but they won initiative for the entire module. All rolls are made behind a DM screen and previously has hit for half the encounter and then not hit a thing when one person is left standing.

1. Xeres goes around a corner and we here footsteps on the planks.  The executioner goes out but doesn't follow him directly and goes towards the water and does a perception check.  He crits his check and sees Xeres on the other side of the bridge and an elf.  He attacks the elf and hits it.  The paladin goes and hits the bridge (passes his acrobatics check) but is grabbed by the choker (readied action) and pulled into the cave that he was hiding.  He attacks the choker with his daily but is blocked by his immediate reaction.  Deciding to focus fire the barbarian comes around the corner and attacks the choker but is hit by Xeres who also readied his action and is automatically pulled in the water.  Being restrained the rest of his turn is forfeit and he has to wait until next turn to save in order to pull himself out.  The cleric comes out and attacks the elf and misses.  The warlock also comes out and attacks the elf (focus fire) and finally kills it. 
2. The bad guys go Xeres moves across the bridge to within five and pulls the cleric in the water.  Another elf comes from near the bottom of the waterfall and attacks the warlock and a spider drops on the warlock.  The choker did automatic damage to the paladin.  The executioner drops his crossbow and moves on the bridge (to attack Xeres) but failed his acrobatics and is tossed into the water with the barbarian and the cleric. The paladin hits the choker with an encounter power and finally kills it.  He moves on the bridge to attack Xeres and fails his acrobatics check and is in the water with the barbarian and cleric and the executioner. The barbarian uses shrug it off to do the saving throw at the beginning of his turn so that he stands on the island.  He decides to run and jump beside Xeres as part of a charge. DM said no, despite the 31 athletics roll, because i)the island wasn't big enough to run a straight line and ii) bridge is 10 feet above the island.  So he finally very grudgingly counts the squares for a standing jump from the island and allows a standing jump beside Xeres. He attacks Xeres with his daily after taking penalties from his "aura" and misses.  The cleric fails his saving throw and is brought down river 2.  The warlock pulls back and attacks the spider and misses.  (I'm guessing we weren't optimized correctly because we needed to roll 15 or better to hit either Xeres or the spider.)
3. A third elf comes from above the waterfall and attacks the warlock but misses (his first of the encounter).  The other elf and the spider tag team the warlock again and he goes down.  Xeres shifts one and hits and pulls the barbarian in the water above the bridge. Executioner fails his save and is washed down river.  Paladin uses divine mettle on the barbarian and after much arguing about whether it can affect the barbarian without a line of sight he grudgingly allows it.  He won't allow lay on hands, though, because he is "restrained". So the barbarian passes his saving throw and is up above the falls near to the elf.  To complete his turn the paladin passes his saving throw and pulls himself up on the bottom portion of the map.  The barbarian is able to charge Xeres making his acrobatics on the bridge and stand beside him.  (the first time he's been hit)  The cleric makes her saving throw and is able to  pull herself out.  The warlock makes her first death saving throw. 
4. Xeres does his blast attack and it hits both the barbarian and the paladin back into the water. (A disputed no saving throw ruling on this)  But because the barbarian (who was beside Xeres) invoked the mantle of the apprentice hit Xeres as well.  DM ruling that it's Xeres power so he decides where he is pushed and ends up prone on the land.  The cleric is attacked by both the spider and the elf (both critted) and is killed.  The other elf (who now has combat advantage against targets in the water) shoots at barbarian and hits.  Executioner is able to pull himself (finally) onto land by passing his saving throw.  Paladin passes his saving throw and is able to pull himself on land. Barbarian too is passes and pulls himself on the island.
5.  Two elves attack executioner, one crits, and kills him.  The spider attacks the paladin and crits him and Xeres then pulls him into the water.  The paladin succumbs to the poison and water damage.  The barbarian charges across the bridge again and rolls a 1 on his acrobatics falls in the water and dies. the end. 

[/sblock]

I hope others can see how frustrating it was for us to play.  With a bulk of the time trying to argue for leniency it still took us two hours to play five rounds.  No more for me.  I am glad others had fun and had fulfillment but I have no idea how you beat Xeres.  If it was our tactics I'd welcome a lesson on what I "should have" done so I know for other encounters that may be similar.  Thanx for listening to a bitter barbarian vent.

Austino's LFR CHARACTERS Ander Darkfoot - 12 - Halfling - Rogue/Daggermaster Miget Lii - 12 - Dragonborn - Paladin/Champion of Order Belfire Ogrecrush - 13 - Dwarf - Weaponmaster/Dreadnaught Dragonheart - 5 - Dragonborn - Sorcerer Shadowflame - 4 - Drow - Assassin Big Daddy - 3 - Goliath - Barbarian Utua - 4 - Shardmind - Artificer Terminator - 1 - Warforged - Barbarian Bladyis - 4 - Elven - Ranger
I just wanted to state, in case of DM bashing, that I DO respect this DM.  I've played in his mods before and he is "tough".  I usually relish the challenge to play to the best of my ability.  But to the writers own admissions "Encounters" was a tough mod.  I think because of the mods he's used to running were different he let this one get away from him.  In my opinion he's a good DM for the type Mod suited to him.  I think perhaps someone a little more understanding would be better in that role in the future but beggars can't be choosers.  He was the only one who stepped up and took the role and had the time for two games (one afternoon and one evening) every Wednesday.  I will play more games with him and, hopefully, have fun.  It won't be encounters, though.  I did the afternoon session and I feel he probably was a little easier on the evening guys. (Call it a hunch).  Thanx.
Austino's LFR CHARACTERS Ander Darkfoot - 12 - Halfling - Rogue/Daggermaster Miget Lii - 12 - Dragonborn - Paladin/Champion of Order Belfire Ogrecrush - 13 - Dwarf - Weaponmaster/Dreadnaught Dragonheart - 5 - Dragonborn - Sorcerer Shadowflame - 4 - Drow - Assassin Big Daddy - 3 - Goliath - Barbarian Utua - 4 - Shardmind - Artificer Terminator - 1 - Warforged - Barbarian Bladyis - 4 - Elven - Ranger
What you describe is different than the adventure.

Show

For starters, you all get an insight check to know that there is probably a set-up (DC 15). A passive perception (18) shows you the choker hiding, and it can then try to flee around the corner (possibly giving you a chance to attack it.

Once in the room, it is DC 12 to see the archers and DC 15 to see the spiders. It would not shock me that you should have seen all of these.

Now, it is ok for DMs to change things up a bit. I hid the archers and spiders and ignored the passive check, but I think the difference is that you have not been having fun all season long. That is the big problem with what you describe. I readily both up the challenge and can pull punches based on the group and how they are doing, all within set ways. I've been DMing for a while, and while everyone makes mistakes I feel pretty confident I can give players a good time and a good challenge. You are clearly not getting that.


We are talking about the same mod. I am pretty sure you would have had a good time at my table... so, what gives?

Well, I think DMs are just going to vary. However, two things. 1, players should speak up to DMs about what they want. If it is consistently too hard, ask them to lower the difficulty. I've posted elsewhere on how they can do that. 2, future DDE seasons should really spell out how DMs should lower difficulty and how to achieve proper challenge levels for the program. Just like we include a pdf for Athas, let's include one for how to DM DDE.

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What you describe is different than the adventure.

 No kidding! With a cursory read-through:

Show
Just Plain Wrong:
  1. The choker can't pull

  2. The choker can't use Body Shield against the creature it's choking

  3. The choker's Choke requires an attack roll.

  4. The Deathjump spider can be hit on a 12+ or better by most 2nd-level characters.

  5. Restrain does not prevent the use of Lay On Hands on adjacent creatures.

  6. Creatures pushed into the water receive a saving throw.

IMHO Incorrect Interpretation:
  1. The barbarian pulled into the water could immediately save to get back out.

  2. The bridge isn't 10 feet above the island.




It's one thing to be a hard DM, it's another to be a jerk that doesn't know the rules. I'm really surprised at the number of bloodthirsty DMs that came out of the woodwork. DMing always seemed like an altruistic thing—it's not like we're getting paid for it. I find the number of players reporting they had a bad time due to jerky DMs inexplicable.
We all had fun... save for the choker throwing me into the pit. dropping me to 3 HP, then ruling that Xeres' corpse hit me for 9. All in all, a ton of fun.
Shaman: "Why doesn't the squirrel shoot the wizard?" DM: "Because the last squirrel who tried to shoot the wizard missed, then was pulled out of his tree and incinerated." Wizard: "He has a point."
We all had fun... save for the choker throwing me into the pit. dropping me to 3 HP, then ruling that Xeres' corpse hit me for 9. All in all, a ton of fun.



Bwahahahahaha!

Ok, that is funny. Sad, but funny.

Just to help understand, we did question him on all the "rulings" that you describe as wrong and I think him being questioned so much probably didn't help.  When something seemed to not make sense as to the rules we'd ask and some more forceful then others.  Because specific beats out general we were under the impretion that the grab in the mod also pulled the character into his space.  Not knowing the stats of the monsters we didn't question him on any of the specifics. 
[sblock = spoiler]
The way he explained the restrained from the water is that we had to make a saving throw to get out and that his ruling is that we could not lay on hands even to himself in the water because being restrained would be like "having your hands tied behind your back".  We argued but as DM he said it was his interpretation.  As for the perception roll he said it only works for enemies "in sight".  He hid the choker in a cave (reach 2) beside the bridge.  The other two elves were also out of direct sight.  I argued that perception can include hearing and smell.  He said with the waterfall so close they could not be factors. (I did agree with his interpretation of this)  We argued that the rules state a PC slid off of a suface receive a saving throw but he said the specific power states doesn't say there is a saving throw. We argued that it seemed too powerful for an at-will but again it was his interpretation.  (He was getting annoyed by this time)   As for saving to get out of the water he ruled saving throws from effects "restrained" are always at the end of your turn with no other actions allowed for that turn.  He said because the bridge had ramps on both sides of it that it was above the water 10ft and we can be swept under it without any hinderance.
[/sblock]
None of us had read the mod so we played as to his specs.  We did argue a fair amount about the "specifics" as they did seem unfair to us.  I don't think he was having fun at a certain point either and I do feel bad for the whole group.  We have said in previous encounters that they seemed too hard for us.  The TPK in the mushroom room and the beholder room, especially.  (I think he should have an idea that his party is finding it difficult with 3 TPK's!)   With the ravine room he let up after there was two left (his way of making it easier by rolling misses behind his screen after not missing the entire encounter to that point)and it took us three and a half hours to defeat the room (four party members).  I guess then I should have told him it wasn't fun but I figured one more to go, I can do it.  I know this is not the norm now that I have read this forum and I think he had planned to start "missing" after most of us had gone down but because most of us died on the same round it got away from him.  I'm really anxious to talk to the afternoon guys to see how they fared.  I'll see them Sunday when I DM at the con. 

Austino's LFR CHARACTERS Ander Darkfoot - 12 - Halfling - Rogue/Daggermaster Miget Lii - 12 - Dragonborn - Paladin/Champion of Order Belfire Ogrecrush - 13 - Dwarf - Weaponmaster/Dreadnaught Dragonheart - 5 - Dragonborn - Sorcerer Shadowflame - 4 - Drow - Assassin Big Daddy - 3 - Goliath - Barbarian Utua - 4 - Shardmind - Artificer Terminator - 1 - Warforged - Barbarian Bladyis - 4 - Elven - Ranger
But to the writers own admissions "Encounters" was a tough mod.

To clarify, I wrote the module in such a way as to make it tough but offer lots of ways it could be scaled down or made easier to accomodate a variety of playing styles and experience levels. I decided to err on the side of "tough" rather than "weak," and trust DM judgment to adjust as necessary. Every table is different!

Also, this here is a perfect example as to how two DMs can run things "as written" and come up with completely different results, based on varying interpretation. However specifically an adventure is written, it still relies on DM interpretation, judgment, and ruling in order to function.

My sympathies as to your plight. I don't believe your DM was being mean-spirited or vindictive, just harsh in his interpretations.

Tough as this experience was, I hope you'll at least consider coming back for the next season. I have a feeling it's going to be pretty kick-ass, particularly thanks to all the great feedback floating around on these here boards.

Cheers
I'm sorry if I offended you erik, that was definately not my intention.  I appreciate the work and dedication you have given to everyone who has played.  Your insight has helped many DM's and players see the RAI and play according to that.  Our DM did not have access to a computer (his has been broken for quite a while) and was not able to have your help, unfortunately.  He saw our group as the "optimized" group (as munchkin as you can get for 1st and 2nd level) and we have played together quite often since the beginning of 4E.  So he scaled every encounter up, especially when early on we were able to beat some of the encounters without anyone going down. (A failure in his eyes).  As for your tough writing of the mod, I'm positive I would love it had someone else DM'd it for me.  As I usually love the mods this current DM does when he scales them up and makes them challenging, I look at this as already done for the DM and if he would have played as it presented itself I would have had as much fun as the others on this board.  I'm sorry if you feel partly responsible because I know that wasn't your intention and it was just the circumstances that lead to my experiences.  As this DM is the only one with the time available to do the "encounters" for the next session I will not be participating. This is by no means due to the writing of the mod just the interpretation of a DM that I usually enjoy playing with.  Thank you for helping everyone you can I know it is appreciated by everyone who has played and although you can't win them all I believe in this instance you gave it your best shot.  Again, THANK YOU.
Austino's LFR CHARACTERS Ander Darkfoot - 12 - Halfling - Rogue/Daggermaster Miget Lii - 12 - Dragonborn - Paladin/Champion of Order Belfire Ogrecrush - 13 - Dwarf - Weaponmaster/Dreadnaught Dragonheart - 5 - Dragonborn - Sorcerer Shadowflame - 4 - Drow - Assassin Big Daddy - 3 - Goliath - Barbarian Utua - 4 - Shardmind - Artificer Terminator - 1 - Warforged - Barbarian Bladyis - 4 - Elven - Ranger
Oh hey, no offense taken, or anything. I appreciate your feedback and am legitimately sympathetic it didn't work out better for you.

I'm not nearly self-centered enough to believe that any module I write, no matter how detailed, is necessarily going to work for everyone. To paraphrase Lincoln, "you can please some people all the time, all the people some of the time, but you can never please ALL the people ALL the time." Barring such an ideal, my goal was to present a working adventure that DMs could then tweak and modify to provide a fun and engaging experience.

I recognize that I should have been clearer initially that DMs should feel free to make adjustments to the module as appropriate for their specific gaming tables. This is, for the record, explicitly stated in the standard LFR rules, but it didn't get reprinted the same way here.

I also hope that participating on the boards as I have served two helpful purposes: 1) Giving folks the head's up as to certain pitfalls coming their way thanks to typos (such as the myconids' pacifying spores), and 2) Offering a bit of insight into the process of adventure design and my D&D philosophy.

And on that note . . .

Cheers
I had a large group all season (6-10 peep a week) since I'm the most veteren DM at the store (3 groups total with the other 2 having 6 players) - (been DMing public events at store for 10 years...at one time my buddy and I DMed a co-campaign of good vs evil when we had 20 players total!).

Level 2 - Dragonkin Paladin
Level 2 - Changling Bard
Level 2 - Deva Cleric (pure healer)
Level 2 - Gith Monk
Level 2 - Elf Ranger
Level 2 - Longtooth Shaman
Level 2 - 1/2Elf Sorcerer

Since all the players are experienced....I double the encounters...since I couldn't double Xeres, I added a 3 strangler

spoiler


The bard, who had the locket from before and had taken lots of time over all the books he could find, had used his change self to shift into the best Lost Apprentace that he could a few weeks before.  A natural 20 on perception for finding as much detail as he could and then a disguise check of over 30 did him well. 

Enter the last session, Xeres does his speech...and the bard steps forward, throws off his hood, and accuses Xeres of murder and that he must die.  Bluff check....Nat 20.  Oh dear lord!  I rule Xeres is caught off guard and loses first round of action while he gathers himself again.  The players move slowly and basically waste the suprise round the bard gave.  The rest of the encounter goes as planned with the 2 spiders suprising people, the 3 chokers grabbing and scaring 3 people who tried to avoid bridge, and the elves pelting with arrows.

Mind you, I have yet to kill a character in this season.  Not from lack of trying...and I have ZERO problem killing characters.  I've done TPKs numerous time (one campaign ended with the players attaching a rope, climbing down a hole without looking....and dieing due to the purple worm closing his mouth and swollowing....LOL).  The problem I kept hitting was the dang cleric.

Pure healer...and I mean PURE healer.  He took pacifist healer and all heals possible.  Amazing heal check etc...in a party of 7, 4 are healers lol.

Long story short....I was down to cleric and the shaman left with the spiders flanking the cleric....though I couldn't roll hot if I had to.  Thought I finally had my moment of greatness that I would wipe the party finally.  Spiders miss the cleric (who is down to 5 hp by now) and then the cleric slides a square to get the farthest down characters in range....then pops Healer's Mercy.  Every person spends a HS, plus the cleric's +15 and +2d6 healing....party is all up to full.  NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Party finally kills rest of everything and Xeres is last....Xeres teleports and goes invis...and the tries to bomb the cleric....roll a 1 and I facepalm.  Meanwhile, paladin burns AP to get over and smack Xeres and then the bard runs over to smack...and rolls nat 20 for attack.........and kills Xeres.  How ironic....killed by his own apprentice!

Moments of greatness handed out to all for foiling every attempt of mine to kill party member(s).  Looking forward to the DS campaign and none of these farking healers!!!!  LOL

I'm not surprised your parties of 6-10 have been steamrolling the encounters, even if they are scaled up dramatically. That many PCs is pretty game breaking.

The point, however, is that you had a good time, and it sounds like you did. Kudos on a successful season!

Cheers
@eriksdb - Having that many players at once is game-breaking, but I found that my well-optimized character steamrolled through the final encounter, even being the only level 2 in a party of 4-5 characters.

I dropped one of the Elves in one hit on my first turn, was able to use Crane's Wings as pseudo-control with the water, and punted the big boss in the head FTW as he drifted past me.

I guess what I'm getting to with Week 12 was that, putting luck aside on that first elf (rolling 9,9,10, and 7 on damage dice for the OHKO, especially since he couldn't get the "step back and shoot" enc power off), I was dissappointed that the final encounter was one of the easiest. I had a lot more trouble with Fell Taints and such then I had with Xeres.
After hearing a number of stories about people having really tough experiences, it sounds like your DM (or at least your DM's dice) went relatively easy on your party.

If it makes you feel better, I promise I'll kick the stuffing out of you if you get a chance to play at my table some day. :D

Cheers

Not even that...I just never got the chance to get hit. I OHKO'd that first elf, and after that, I just leapt around kicking enemies into the water, and finishing whatever my party was tying up. Really, the map was the perfect playground for Crane's Wings. Laughing

I will say this...the guys tying up Xeres took a beating, and Hellfire Spiral sucked. But without the ranged support of his pretty boy elves, they were able to keep him occupied while I ran around being a rock star.

And...was that a challenge I read? Undecided

Only an invite, my good friend!

Sounds like you guys excelled on the tactics--or at least had the right thing for the right situation (Crane's Wings).

Cheers