D&D Encounters Field Reports (Week 11)

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Use this thread to discuss your experiences with week 11 of D&D Encounters Season 4 - March of the Phantom Brigade.

For more reports and reviews of Encounters check out these blogs (and please suggest more):
Dungeon's Master
Glitterdust
Perpetual Geek Machine
Wielding a Bohemian Ear Spoon
Sartredes


Please realize 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. 

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What a night. We only had six play tonight. As I have stated in other posts, I ran week 11 and week 12 this week. Week 11 started with them wondering what was up with an unlit brazier and a bookshelf in the hallway that they could not access due to force fields of some type. They chose to go the only route possible. The slayer kicked the door in activating the illusion and then the monsters rose. I did not put the crawler on the map since it was climbing out of the earthquake fissure I added to the map. The ghouls delayed a round but the ravenous ghouls rushed the door blocking the entrance. One ravenous ghoul bit the crap out of the slayer bloodying him instantly. The party then got some actions and they decided as a group to bring the battle out into the hallway. No good. The crawler came forward and snagged the rogue pulling her over to the pit and deposited her (after a missed save) into a 20 foot pit. The party said crap since all they saw was her disappear behind a bed. She had been dazed by the crawler so all she could do was stand on her turn. The regular ghouls came into play in round two and forward but I missed attacks after that. The thief eventually climbed out but was mostly ineffective in the fight. The warlock continued to do a lot of damage and is the most powerful striker on our table. He ended the crawler right after it moved around the battlefield proning half the group.

I placed the one treasure in the pit giving our cleric a +1 vicious mace. In one of the locked chests I placed the hint for my brazier and perfumed oil puzzle (Mini 1-2) which they broke up into three groups to try to solve. They figured it out after about 10 minutes of work and then I ended session 12.

Session 13 was exceptionally challenging. If any of you are up to give a big challenge, throw a level 5 duergar leader at them like I did. It is nasty because when the scouts use their standard action to go invisible they can't attack. The leader (warlord basically) can then have them attack in the same round (becoming visible.) My initiative put the scouts immediately before the leader so the battle went go invisible, leader makes one attack ranged at d8+4d6+5 every round. I had three near deaths (slayer, warlord, mage) but no actual deaths. They loved the challenge. The most fun I had were the defenders. Their AC20 was very effective. One of them probably took 6 rounds to go down. It even got out of a 4 on 1 attack to charge the mage knocking him unconscious after getting a scout attack seconds before.

I had 5 players this week at The Game Depot in Tempe, Arizona.


Brandis – level 3 Human Paladin
Keira – level 3 Elf Thief
Nyla – level 2 Elf Slayer
Valenae – level 2 Eladrin Warpriest (Sun)
Sola – level 1 Elf Warpriest (Sun)


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The party went through the monastery exploring, seeing the visions of Salazar Vladistone and the Silver Company and the magical stasis fields blocking access to the stairwell and the other half of the complex. Excellent skill checks by Valenae led to lots of good info about past events and possible ways to get the stasis fields down.

 They finally made their way to the sleeping quarters, as soon as they entered the ghouls rose from the cots and attacked, as well as the Carrion Crawler.


 The past couple sessions have ended in a sort of gridlock in the center of the map, so I changed it up a bit for this encounter. The Ravenous Ghouls charged to engage in melee, the regular ghouls I armed with crossbows and they stayed in the back and used range attacks. I had them coating the crossbow bolts with their own blood before firing them, so the bolts still produced the immobilize and stun effects that the claw and bite attacks would normally produce.

The crawler hauled itself up to the ceiling and used its reach attack tentacles to daze the PCs, who had no reach weapons of their own and only basic range attacks (bows). A heck of a week for your mage to not show up!


 The slayer almost went down in round 2 when a Ravenous Ghoul roled a crit using its Ravenous Bite (28 damage plus 5 ongoing), but the Paladin used Righteous Shield to suck the damage. Having 2 warpriest helped a lot, both used Smite Undead and passed out Healing Words to keep the party upright. A tough battle but no PC went down though most were bloodied at some point. The Paladin finally earned his renown for taking 50+ damage in a session.


 The crawler lasted the longest being up on the ceiling, it finally came down and tried to move through the whole party and knock them all prone but the Thief and Slayer stayed on their feet and used backstab/power strike to finally put it out of commission.


 Another good session overall, challenging but not impossible. Good use of Fortune Cards as well, especially for re-rolling failed saving throws and Phantom Ally to set up combat advantage for the Thief to use Sneak Attack.


 The level 1 & 2 all made enough xp to level up for next session (yeah, they are in the middle of a monastery but the season is almost over so I am allowing it). Only 2 weeks till the finale!

Had a big table and my 5 player table tonight.

carrion crawler = hentai?


The Crawler went after the ghouls lured two PCs into the room and scuttled through the rest of the party, then dazed the prone cleric and hauled her down the hallway for a little private time. An early crit on the Dragonborn Slayer put him down and I was worried about a TPK for a bit but the new cavalier and the thief pulled him up and they started to focus fire monsters down. Everyone was on the edge of their seat though, with the Warpriest basically facing the CC on her own for so long.
I finally played Encounters!

After running two seasons of Encounters I stepped down and ran a Dark Sun home campaign. With not enough players able to make it to last night's session my friend and I went to play at Rainy Day Games in Aloha, OR.

We had a good time. The encounter was a bit straightforward for my tastes but I had a great time nonetheless.

Show

We took out the carrion crawler pretty quickly. Only one PC was stunned, but they failed their save and lost two rounds. The warlock was bloodied and put in a tight spot, but the rest of the group did a decent job. In all we had everyone spend their action point and three of the five PCs were bloodied and at very low HPs (we did not have a healer).

We did not have a pit come up, so perhaps we failed to trigger that.


I separately also finally was able to visit Guardian Games in Portland, where I used to DM and co-organize Encounters. It was really cool seeing so many of the same players there having a great time. Watching the action I think Encounters has really helped DMs improve (it certainly helped me). This may secretly be the "make DMs better program."

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).

We were down to one (large) table, again this week.   The party reacted a little oddly to the set-up, with a few, including the dedicated-ranged /hunter/ moving up to invistigate the beds holding 'corpses' in detail, only to get jumped when the ghouls animated.  It was something of a disaster, at first, with ranged combatants stuck in melee with ghouls, the party split between fighting them in the room and the crawler in the hallway, and the PCs' dice taking a while to warm up.   The warpriest went down in the second round, and was revived by a potion, the hunter went down shortly thereafter (revived by a natural 19, upped to 21 by the warpriest's sun domain feature, death save), and the defender went down later (when he finally got into position to engage several of the ghouls at once).  His sacrifice took the preasure off the rest of the party, though, and the tide turned. There were a lot of second winds, and both the party's precious (there's been virtually no gold to buy more) healing potions, and several action points used.

 

 

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We were back up to 3 tables (in Fredericton, NB) as we had 3 new players show up tonight.  One, at least, will be returning for further encounters and will be bringing a friend with him.

The players enjoyed the encounter, with the carrion crawler running rampant through the party until the poor critter got slowed (and couldn't save...)
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