Field Reports: Week 13 Finale

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After having 3 tables (two pick-up, and one regular) most of the season, we had a sudden drop-off in attendance for the final week.   We had one full table, and an under-filled table (the regular one, oddly).  I was at the pick-up table, we had one new player (who thankfully let herself be talked into a Striker), the 3 controllers who have made this season a bit interesting, and one defender & leader.   The combat went pretty smoothly - we had heard rumors it was going to be tough, and took it seriously - we all rolled unusually high for initiative, and our new striker was able to team up with the leader and defender and mow through 3 monsters fairly quickly.  The necromancer pulled a heck of a combo on the big bad, leaving him bloodied and vulnerable to our attacks, and we piled on, finishing him that round.  A better performance than usual for most of us, and a satisfying end to the story.  We did succeed on a skill challenge (barely, thanks to a natural 20 on 'hard' check) setting it up, so that presumably made it easier too.

There was some fun RP, also, as a few of the characters have developed over the course of the season. 



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We've had 3, sometimes 4 tables this season, including the addition of a "kid table" of players who are under 15, mid-season.

The kid table had 4 players (3 kids, one dad). They have arguably the most powerful striker among all our PCs-- Keira the Elf Rogue. Last week, the dad's PC died while trying to take down Nethaire/Vontarin, when Vontarin, after striking him viciously with a provoked attack, slid him off the balcony. One failed saving throw and a bad die roll and he broke his neck landing on the toppled-over bookcase.

This week, he returned, darker and more shadow-touched than before. And with a grudge! I wasn't at that table, but from what I hear, after Keira bloodied Vontarin's ghost, the returned hero charged, slaying the evil ghost! In the next round, Vontarin's minions, weakening, drained him of his last hit points (and then some!), but not before he had the satisfaction of seeing the ghost laid to rest.

At my table, it was a fairly standard fight for Vontarin, with the lowly Magic Missile showing its true strength when the warlord triggered this surprisingly effective ranged basic attack of force damage from the party mage. Eventually, they slew Vontarin's ghost, having split their fire and polished off his allies in what was something of a grind.

But table three... oh, my, what am I going to do with table three? Back in the library, they picked up the orb and the arcanist looked deep into it.... the rest of the party stood by, listening as she said things like "really? Power, you say? Well.... that sounds good to me-- ooohhaahahahahaah! Die, you heroic scum!"

Yep. That glaring plot hole you all saw in there, where it says "if a character agrees, then Vontarin takes over their body." Yeah, Table Three exploited it. I should have warned their DM, cause I knew someone would do it, but he's flexible.

He handled it thusly: same general fight, but it was PvP. With this group of players, particularly the one who'd taken the orb, that worked out, but we all agreed it was not something we normally do in public play. The DM handed over Vontarin's stats. Since they'd started at the library, they fought in the library-- which was handy because we only had 2 copies of the printed maps anyway (we initially ordered one kit, but our attendance has surged over the course of the season; we've made do with photocopies, dungeon tiles, and dry erase maps). The heroes fought ferociously, despite being one man down. Vontarin slew his host's former ally and defender before ultimately succumbing to the divinely guided warpriest.

During the Duponde Victory Party (cupcakes and brownies at the shop), I circulated among the triumphant heroes (and fallen ones as well) and told them about rumors of kobolds and death cults that they've heard coming out of nearby Winterhaven.... We're running Keep on the Shadowfell in my Sunday games, and I have conversion plans to let them bring their Encounters PCs in to face the evils there.

Most of them are coming to Game Day on Saturday. Table Three is forming an adventuring company of dwarves for the new season in Neverwinter and is essentially forming a "home group" away from home. My Under 15 table gained another player last night, bringing the kid quotient to 4. The kids all want to play elves. I have recruited three new DMs through this season, and we've split our Wednesday into two time slots to accommodate the four tables we anticipate having. About a third of my players are coming to the Sunday games-- and more plan to start.

We started this season with four players and a DM, and our shop didn't even run Encounters last season due to low interest. Over the course of the season, we've grown to regularly having 16-18, which is definitely translating into increased sales for the store. With all the interest last night, though, I'm terrified that next season we'll simply outgrow the shop entirely and have to set up folding tables in the parking lot.
We'll talk to Jin at the chicken shop and work something out for the extra tables, lol.

I happened to be the DM who had the Drow who accepted Vontarin's offer. I had to simply have him summon forth some creatures from within the library to assist him. It was probably one of the best nights I've had DMing OR playing and the player who became Vontarin role played it excellently. Taunting and threatening and challenging his former compatriots. He even made very great use of his phasing and flying. The cleric had been grabbed nearly the entire encounter but was eventually able to get a radiant hit on Vontarin (who appropriately yelled in pain) and allowed the striker to finally get in some solid, unmitigated damage to finish him off and send his sell back where it belonged. Lots of great players, a kid table (which I had never thought I'd see for D&D that WORKS WELL), and no one acting better than anyone else. Advice everywhere but no one trying to play other people's characters.
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