Field Report Week 10: Kraken Sewers

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Can't really report as we only had one table tonight and so I went home early due to some real life stuff going on with my family. I hope everyone had fun.
We had two again tables at FCB games. Our usual DM for the other table had to work, though, so someone else filled in for him... a guy with no previous experience running the game, and very little experience playing it. He did really well, though. 

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My group initially gave the wererat, Nix, an ultimatum to give them a reason not to kill him, and he was at something of a loss for words, so they tried to do that. However, I'd tossed down the minis on the new map at the end of the last session, and anyone who ended up over a pit had to roll to prevent going into the water. The paladin and wizard went in, and had to swim out, so the group was distracted by saving them, and left the rat alone for a short bit (while he regenerated from the dagger that was thrown at him).

The paladin and wizard had sunk down 10' into the water, and when the wizard got a light spell going, saw a great expanse of water all around them. The wizard, an eladrin, teleported up and out of the water as the rogue swam down to help the paladin up to the surface, and just before the wizard's light disappeared with him, the paladin and rogue saw something big coming towards them. (heh)

They got up into the tunnel again, and now questioned the wererat, finding out that the Dead Rats weren't responsible for the gate incident, or for Charl attacking them ("Charl? Geez, that jerk? I swear letting him into the gang was the worse decision I ever made!"), and they are now suspicious of the Lost Heir.

The tentacles attacked as they were moving towards the exit of the map, with several characters being grabbed. The wizard set off a blast of Burning Hands, taking out a few of them, and the rest of the group worked to get rid of a few others. Nix, the wererat, was grabbed and he couldn't escape.

Next round, the group worked to get rid of the other tentacles, and the green slimes joined in the fun. One grabbed the rogue, and one grabbed Nix, causing the tentacle to release. The ongoing 10 acid damage REALLY hurt them. Nix escaped, turned into a small rat and scurried off into the corner. The group managed to bloody one of the slimes.

The next round, the tentacles hit in the first round popped back up, trying to grab people again. The wizard used Beguiling Strands to wound them, causing them to drop back down, and he pushed the bloodied slime across and down into the casme. Nix took off down the tunnel to escape. 

The tentacles hit in round two popped back up and this is when I let them know the pattern of that. They grabbed a couple, but people escaped or hit them to cause them to let go. They bloodied the second slime, but it grabbed the swordmage. He'd already taken a lot of damage from the tentacles, so the ongoing damage dropped him to 0hp! The wizard managed to get a potion of healing into him with an action point, so he came back after that.

The paladin was taking a beating, so she escaped from a tentacle and fled towards the exit (at the urging of the other players). The swordmage pulled the remaining slime off the wizard, whom it had engulfed, damaged it, then action pointed and killed it. It happened to be right next to the remaining tentacle, which took the spray of green slime and zipped back down into the water, ending the encounter.

The Sons of Alagondar showed up then, with Nix in tow. The leader introduced himself, and the group went with them, since they had been told to seek out the Sons for information.

I'm leaving the roleplaying part until next time, since we were running late by then.

I didn't see much of what happened at the other table, but when I went over after we finished, they were in full combat with the Sons, since they refused to be shackled and blindfolded for the journey to their lair. They ended up killing all of the Sons that showed up, including Arlon Bladeshaper in the first round! One of the PCs died, bleeding out where noone could get to him to help him. The regular DM should have an interesting time working all that out for next time. heh.


I know the tentacles were considered the major threat, due to their high defences, but it was the green slimes that lead to three PCs dead between the two tables. Splitting damage meant that the PCs died to their own party mates attacks. The wizard at my table scorched the poor unconcious warpriest with burning hands, the monk at the other table died to the exact same thing. The Swordmage at my table also died when the Scout ripped into the ooze that was grabbing him. The wizard at my table would then die to the Kraken's tentacles, and the party managed to get the lone wererat from the beginning to aid them, but poor Don (I went with a Ninja Turtle theme for the wererats last week) would also be strangled and drawn into the Kraken's maw.

So, end result? My table ... 3 PCs dead and Don. The other table did better, only losing the Monk. I think the Monk's player was feeling a little slighted, his brother was DMing and the Monk didn't land a single hit.
The green slime was nasty, I used 3 of them against 6 PCs, but did not kill anyone though 2 PCs were making Death Saves for more than 1 round. The slimes silently dropped from the ceiling onto PCs below that were fighting off the kraken's tentacles. In one heroic scene, a slime was about to drop onto an unsuspecting character (who missed his Perception check) while another made his and cinematically (=no actual rules for this) reacted by bull-rushing the slime's target back and making himself the new target. Fortunately, for both of them, the slime missed and landed on the ground between both characters in a flanked position.

When the "Sons" arrived they were carrying lit torches and, upon seeing a character being dissolved by a slime, throw a torch to another character to use against the slimes. I allowed the PC to use the torch as a weapon that, upon hitting the slime, forced it to immediately shift away and off of the engulfed character thus saving him. Slimes try to avoid fire too and would not attack a character wielding a lit torch. As a DM, I dislike Sunrods so try to give minor benefits to using more traditional but less convienent light sources like torches and lanterns.

10 Ongoing damage is brutal, at this level, and making them lurkers that can attack from a Hidden state (specifically silently dropping from the ceiling) is almost required to put the "fear of being slimed" into the player's minds.
We did the actual encounter of this session last week due to my PCs completely blowing through the dead rats. Ths slimes didn't make that great of empression, they only hit once with engulf, and of course that character had an encounter teleport. I threw more then triple the recomended amount of tenticals as they were mowing them down. They had a lot of fun trying to avoid being grabbed and teleporting around the cavern. Our ranger was not happy that she couldn't stay far enough away to not get hit. ^_^

The role play was a lot of fun as well. My players got a kick out of the fact that Arlon Bladeshaper introduces himself more then once. We had a lot of fun with the end of this chapter.  
We had 7 at one table this week due to secondary DM dysfunction, two groups with two clashing playstyles. This was definitely a week of party dysfunction in general. 

(Spoiler tags for semi-rant, rather than content)

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We started with the party gasping for air at the bottom of a sewer pipe, some having to make acrobatics checks to stay out of the water. I used the (gentle) fig drop technique Wink The characters were trapped in an eerie, nearly silent cavern of creepiness. Of course, the first thing they did was grab the wererat and immediately try and intimidate him for information. This is where the strain of 7 people at the table first started to show: no words in edgewise for the DM! The bard and the minotaur barbarian scrambled to try and catch him as a rat, then the wizard used mage hand to grab him, and then he was grabbed off the hand by the minotaur, who threatened it back into human form.

The bard at this point drew his sword and started "diplomating" it in the wererat's face, and the wererat backed away from it, naturally, to the edge of a pit... then a tentacle grabbed him right off the edge!

Once the wizard lit some magical strobe lights above the pits, the fight began in earnest. Our Rules Compendium was set to write a letter of complaint to WotC about the tentacles against this level of party- he wouldn't accept any story-phrased explaination (do you know how big a kraken is?), but after a knowledge check his meta-rage was quenched. Unfortunately, this exchange made other people at the table uncomfortable, over as quickly as it was. 

The tentacles managed to nearly take out our minotaur, and an ooze was happily munching on our (nearly dead) tiefling ranger for most of the session. Got a few brief grabs with tentacles, and the other ooze managed to keep the cleric busy (and sticky!). 

The really trying part for me came with the roleplaying section. First, some background. The person playing our bard made his character to fill a needed role at the beginning of the season, however the character is not a good fit for him roleplaying wise. Unfortunately, he takes the "leader" description and his high charisma stat to mean that he is required to be the "party face". 

He immediately confronted Arlon, making demands and basically cutting him and other party members off whenever possible, as he has when interacting with every other NPC so far. Nevertheless, Arlon (coldly) offered them shelter. The bard displayed his Lost Heir badge proudly as he walked through the Sons headquarters, and everyone walking behind him realized that he was getting cold and somewhat hostile reactions for it. 

It was a struggle to get the rest of the info out to the party, to the point where I had to stop the game and directly address the bard's constant cutting off of the DM. There was also an impromptu election, led by the minotaur, for a new (elected!) party face. 


It can be impossible sometimes to continue to try and make everyone's playing experience enjoyable, and I truly regret that in this case. 
But anyway, I loved the potential for this session, and I have high hopes for future sessions. However, there won't be a bard present for any future sessions, as I will be asking the player to choose a more suitable character (with no penalty, of course).

We had two rather crowded tables this week.  I'm not sure how the other table did, but we had no trouble with the encounter. 

[spoiler]The overlevelled tentacle minions (a cool way to represent an utterly level-inapropriate kraken, I thought) were hard to hit vs AC or REF but easy enough to hit vs FORT, once the sorcerer figured that out, she started taking them out one at a time instead of trying to use burning spray.  Magic Missle also proved very handy that way, but it was Bladespells that took out most of the minions.  Our DM was nice and let a character grabbed by a non-adjacent tentacle attack the tentacle in melee (it is wrapped around you, of course you can hit it). 

The Slimes were nasty, but none engulfed a character for more than a round, and most of us were pretty good about not attacking until the engulfed character escaped (the sorcerer used a daily to finish off the last slime while it was still engulfing the paladin - it was funny, because if she'd done 4 more points of damage, the pally would've gotten the 'take 50 damage' renown).  No one actually dropped, though some got close.  The Bladesinger got to show off in this fight.  Once the slimes showed up, giving him 'soft targets' (pi) with actual hps, he popped Blade Song and whailed on them - using a free action attack from the warlord on one turn, and an action point on the other.  That's 4 tentacles popped by bladespells, one slime killed outright, and another taken from unbloodied to single-digit hps, in just two rounds, by one PC - assists from the Warlord readying to grant that extra attack on the Bladesinger's turn (so the bladespell would work), and the Pally for dazing the second slime.

We finished off the second slime and piled on the third, after bladespells took out the last two tentacles, and the fight was over.

 
We were surprised to find that the Sons were having second thoughts about the Heir, who has aparently been getting less rational, lately.  (That's a strike against my theory about Seldra, who seemed perfectly rational, if distracted, the day before.)  Again, we weren't as tight-lipped about knowing about the recent history of the crown as might have been prudent, and we shared the incident with the Thayan trying to do something to it in the cemetary - complicated by the fact we had a mix of players from different game day tables with slightly different stories.  We hit upon the theory that the crown had been cursed by the Thayan, and was in turn messing with the Heir's mind.  The Sons confirmed they'd never seen the Heir's face, and were given no evidence of his legitimacy beyond the crown.  He's got some 'splain'n to do when we see him next chapter...

 

 

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I'm glad the bladesinger is shining in a lot of these games. I wrote some of the encounters to showcase bladesinger abilities, just because that's the new class on display. But it sounds like all the classes are acquitting themselves well.

Cheers
I had a 5-top game this week and, while I tried to give them a chance to get a hold of the Kraken amulets at the start, the one person who grabbed one never really made it to the crevase because no one saw the slimes. So I had one target the one with the amulet (everyone else was occupied with the tentacles and didn't want to be accused of targetting certain players/characters...) pretty much halting them in their tracks.

Otherwise, it was a great session. Many thanks for the tips on describing the tunnels. The players cancelled out the information pulling from the Dead Rat by once again going after their one source of information. So I simply had the Rat go down the crevase and, when the players approached, out comes the Kraken. Dropped three characters to dying. One of them had zero surges going into it! It was a great chapter, can't wait to reach the epic conclusion! =)
We had another great week at Brookhurst Hobbies--I have updated my blog with actual play video. DM Rico, DM William, and I all have fairly stable players--same guys showing up every week--which is making the encounters a lot more playful & fun--players know their roles & powers which makes combat go much more quickly and Roll Playing much more interesting. 
We DM Rico, DM William, and I all have fairly stable players. 


I'm sure our players will be happy to have your evaluation of their psychological state.  Wink

I'm not sure the same thing can be said for their DMs. Laughing 
- Rico



This session was by far my most successful in terms of presenting a real challenge to the players.  And actually, I didn’t play it as tough as I could have. If I had, I could easily have killed the entire party.

I had 6 players at my table. 

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I reviewed what happened last week and how they got here. I told them that the Dead Rat who had pulled the lever got washed along with them and was over in the corner sputtering and coughing as he stood. He gazed at them and stood there watching them warily, neither attacking nor fleeing.  I then went round the table, giving each character a chance to take an action.

The first player decided to try to intimidate the Dead Rat, and said, “You’d better tell us everything we want to know if you want to live,” and rolled a 20, which gave him a score of 32 I think. So I played the Dead Rat as begging for his life saying, “Please don’t hurt me. I’ll tell you anything. What do you want to know?” The next player asked him what the deal was with the lever and flooding the chamber. So I explained that when Rolsk set up the lair in the sewers, he had an engineer build in a mechanism for flooding sections of the lair in case they came under attack. Then they asked him about the alliance with the Sons of Alogandar, and where their headquarters were. So I gave them the information from the module. After that, no one else had any questions for him, and when I got to the last player, (playing a Bregan D’Aerth Spy) he decided to just kill him anyway, and shot an arrow at him. It did minor damage, so I had the Dead Rat double run to get away. The player proceeded to chase after him, shot another arrow at him and killed him. So much for gaining information.


The rest of the party moved down the corridor to around the first bend, where they spotted the corpses. I described them as long dead. The players asked if they could tell how they died, did it look like the Dead Rats or the Sons of Alogandar had killed them. I told them that from what you could see of what was left of them, it looked more like they’d just dissolved.  One of the players (the same one who killed the Dead Rat) went over and checked out the corpses, where he found an amulet. That prompted a player to make a history check. That, coupled with having two Bregan D’Aerth Spies in the party, gave them all the information about the Kraken Society. He showed it to the party’s wizard, who did an Arcana check on it. There wasn’t anything in the module about it being magical, but I figured that made the most sense. So I told him, “Yes. It glows faintly with some low level magic. As best you can tell, it somehow allows the wearer to control the Kraken. The PC who found it decided to wear it. Then I told the wizard that out of the corner of his eye he notices something else glowing a few feet away on the ground. It’s another amulet sitting in a puddle of green slime. PC says, “Cool! I go pick it up.” Guess who got attacked by a slime. Laughing At that point I started the combat.

The tentacles, with their high defenses were already a pretty tough opponent, but I also played them as 2-hit minions, which added to their threat. Because the first hit bloodies a 2-hit minion and the second kills it, the players had no idea how much damage they needed to do, which was great. Sometimes they’d do 18 points of damage on the 1st hit and I’d mark it as bloodied. Another time they’d do 4 points and I’d mark it as bloodied. On top of that, since the tentacles only had a move of 1, occasionally there would be no PCs in reach. So I would have a tentacle withdraw for a round and the reappear somewhere else the next round.  This kept the players guessing for the entire encounter. I decided that only one tentacle at a time would grab a PC. However, there was nothing in the text indicating that this should be so, so if you wanted to have more than one tentacle grab a PC you could do some serious damage. (After this season is over, I may be running this adventure for a home group. If/when I do, I’ll have 7 PCs, so I will probably do that.)


The slimes were great. The ongoing damage (especially the 10) was really killer. Again, I didn’t play them as tough as I could have. Instead of having the slime slam a player first and then engulfing him on the next round, I did one or the other. So the PCs only had to deal with one instance of ongoing damage. And splitting the damage done to the slime between it and the player it engulfed was brutal. At one point I had one PC one point away from his negative bloodied value, and taking 10 ongoing. He would have been dead at the beginning of the next round, but I decided to be merciful and had the slime move off of him and onto another PC.  Oddly, everyone tried to attack the slimes, but no one (until I prompted them) even thought about simply trying to pull an engulfed PC away from the slime (I had the one PC who tried to do that take 2 points of acid damage since it made sense).


As it was, I had three out of six down and dying (and at least one more bloodied). One had failed two death saving throws. One had failed one. And the third got out of having to make a death saving throw because I ended the combat before he did.

By the end, just before I had the Sons of Alogandar show up to rescue the party, one of the PCs was trying to get everyone just to run away. And he wanted to head back to the sewer pipe area where they came in instead of going forward, because he was afraid the kraken would keep attacking if they went further into the lair. And when the Sons finally did show up, I put a bunch of minis on the map and the players thought they were about to get
slaughtered. So there was palpable relief on their faces when they helped them instead.


Once they got to the Sons’ lair, they did a little better questioning Arlon Bladeshaper. 

I really enjoyed this week, and I'm really enjoying this whole season, but I do have one minor complaint. Too often there isn’t a complete description of the area. Things like how high the ceiling is, is important. Why? Because when you have a Braegen d’Aerth spy in the party, who has the ability to fly “4 squares vertically and 1 square horizontally” he needs to know if he can fly above and over the tentacles. If you put the PCs in a sewer with running water, how fast is the water moving (that question came up in both sewer encounters)?  In session 4 (the attack on the gate) there are areas on the map, up against the wall that look like they might be buildings, but no information is given about them. My PCs wanted to know what they were and if they could go in/through them to get to the bandits on the wall.

Why are these things left to the DM to try to figure out? If you’ve got an experienced DM who’s good at improvising that may be fine. But one of the things WOTC touts about the Encounters program is that the DM doesn’t have to have a lot of experience. All he has to do is spend a few minutes reading through the encounter, and he’ll be ready to run it. So, give us more complete descriptions of the areas. If something appears on the map, tell us what it is. In this week’s encounter, what if a PC goes (jumps, falls, etc.) down the crevasse? There’s a kraken down there, right? How about giving us stats and some clue about how to handle that?





 

- Rico
Hey Rico, I completely hear you about the info dropping. Here's my take on it:

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There are really three inter-related reasons a written adventure doesn't provide exhaustive detail:

1. Space: The goal is to keep everything on 4 pages, to make it easier on the DM so as not to have to flip around to lots of different sections. It might seem like we have a little white space and could put one or two more details in, but which ones? (see #2) 

2. How do you pick and choose details to include? Not everything is relevant to every game. You brought up the drow levitating, but not every game will have one of those. The ceiling height is completely irrelevant to some games. I could include things like wind speed and direction, ambient temperature, what every building is on the map, what they're selling, what the specials at the tavern are, etc., etc., but eventually you run into two problems, 1) data overload (see #3) and the DM feeling disempowered. If the DM isn't able to be creative,

3. Too much detail is just confusing: It's easy to lose track of important details in and amongst the little things. Say you're running an encounter with a running river, and you, the DM, want to figure out how fast the river is moving and what DC check the hero needs to make to swim in it, climb out of it, etc.

You look at the Environmental Features section, where you get wind speed and direction, ambient temperature, the name of the tavern on the map that the PCs can't easily access, the NPCs in the tavern and their names and motivations, the specials at the tavern, the rules for chairs and tables at the tavern, the rules for egress through the windows, etc., etc.

You finally find the section marked River, but it's its own paragraph with where it comes from, where it's going, how high it is at what times of day, how much distance is between the docks and the water, how deep the river is, how fast it's going, the temperature of the water, boats in the river, trade using waterways, swimming in the river, etc., etc.

The data you're looking for is there somewhere, but you have to put the game on pause while you hunt for it.

In Conclusion: There's a balance to be struck here. When determining what detail to include, the best and only thing a designer can do is think about what questions are likely to come up (being dunked in the river is a good possibility) and provide rules for that. A designer also doesn't have the time or energy to craft every minute detail of a scene, and it's better to move on to the action.

I as an adventure designer intentionally leave these small details to the DM, because it allows/forces the DM to come up with things on the fly. My advice to all DMs, and advice that should be included in the front of the DMG: "When in doubt, make it up!"


My perspective. Does that answer the question?

Cheers



My
perspective. Does that answer the question?



Erik,

I appreciate your response, and I understand where you’re coming from. But honestly,
I have to say, not really. I’ll try to respond to your comments:

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2. How do you pick and choose details to include? Not
everything is relevant to every game. You brought up the drow levitating, but
not every game will have one of those. The ceiling height is completely
irrelevant to some games. I could include things like wind speed and direction,
ambient temperature, what every building is on the map, what they're selling,
what the specials at the tavern are, etc., etc., but eventually you run into
two problems, 1) data overload (see #3) and the DM feeling disempowered. If the
DM isn't able to be creative,

3. Too much detail is just confusing: It's easy to
lose track of important details in and amongst the little things. Say you're
running an encounter with a running river, and you, the DM, want to figure out
how fast the river is moving and what DC check the hero needs to make to swim
in it, climb out of it, etc.

You look at the Environmental Features section, where you get wind speed and
direction, ambient temperature, the name of the tavern on the map that the PCs
can't easily access, the NPCs in the tavern and their names and motivations,
the specials at the tavern, the rules for chairs and tables at the tavern, the
rules for egress through the windows, etc., etc.

You finally find the section marked River, but it's its own paragraph with
where it comes from, where it's going, how high it is at what times of day, how
much distance is between the docks and the water, how deep the river is, how
fast it's going, the temperature of the water, boats in the river, trade using
waterways, swimming in the river, etc., etc.

The data you're looking for is there somewhere, but you have to put the game on
pause while you hunt for it.



I think there's a simple answer:  Details on elements that effect movement and combat should be provided. Ambient temperature rarely has an impact on movement or combat. Ambient light does. So every encounter details how much light is present. If falling into the water is an element that you've included in the encounter then things like the speed of the water should be included – as you did in sessions 1,2 and 5, where you state that the water isn't moving very fast, and you gave the DCs for character to maintain their position and get out of the water. In the sewer encounters, there are crocs in the water attacking the PCs. So ending up in the water is a real possibility. And a bloodied character who ends his turn in the water risks contracting Filth Fever. So a simple sentence saying the water is moving slowly or swiftly is not a lot to ask. I can work out the DCs for it from that.

NPC names and motivations should be given if it is germane to the encounter, like you did with Harrag in the encounter at the Beached Leviathan (By the way, I did create a menu for that encounter, and allowed the characters to order. ) 

Going back to the encounter in the Kraken lair, how high up the ceiling is, is relevant not just for a character who might be able to fly. It’s also relevant because a character may want to climb the walls. How high can he climb before he hits the ceiling? Also, the slimes start on the ceiling and have a move speed of 4. If the ceiling is 20 feet
up, it takes the slime's entire move to traverse the distance. If the ceiling is 15 feet up, the slime has one square of movement left, etc. 

If a building on a map is something the PCs will likely interact with, some information should be given. For instance, going back to the encounter at the wall that I mentioned, the PCs have to get to the bandits on the wall to keep them from opening the gate. There are buildings(?) on the map up against the wall right by where the bandits start. It looks like they have steps going up to the top of the wall. My players asked what those building were. Could they go in and through them to sneak up behind the bandits. Are those doors? Are they locked? I had no idea what the structures represented. Were they buildings? Were they platforms? Now I think this isn't really directed at you, Erik, as much as WOTC. Because I’m betting that what happened was that you wrote the encounter, and then Wizards created the map using the tiles. So at that point it’s incumbent upon them, if they add something to the map, to explain it. On the flip side of that, if you include an element, Wizards should make sure it’s on the map. In that same encounter, why didn’t they put a gate on the map? One of the tile sets they’ve published has a gate. I used that tile. You had a canoe as an element in the Swamp Vines encounter (a pretty significant element since disturbing it starts the combat) and the map as printed (at least my copy of it) only showed half of the canoe. I
ended up buying the Witchlight Fens tile set just so I could have the canoe be on the map. (Maybe that’s what Wizards wanted.)



In Conclusion: There's a balance to be struck
here. When determining what detail to include, the best and only thing a
designer can do is think about what questions are likely to come up (being
dunked in the river is a good possibility) and provide rules for that. A
designer also doesn't have the time or energy to craft every minute detail of a
scene, and it's better to move on to the action.


I’m not asking that you “craft every minute detail of a scene.” I’m asking that if there’s a terrain feature the PCs are likely to have to deal with, it be detailed enough that we know how to run it.  Another example, in the Sewer
Sentries encounter, the PCs start by exiting a sewer pipe, and there is a set of stairs off to the right. No
information is given other than that they lead down to the chamber with the statue (where the PCs already are standing). Stairs that lead down also lead up. I don’t know about you, but I’ve yet to meet a party that didn’t explore every direction. It’s kind of lame as a DM to have to say, “Uh. I guess it doesn’t go anywhere (or the passageway is blocked by rubble).”





- Rico
Heh. You don't have to be NEARLY that polite when you disagree with me. Though I do appreciate it.

Alas, some improvisation is a necessary part of DMing. I thought the things I didn't specify didn't need to be specified, because I figured they could be inferred or made up on the spot:

1) Safe assumption is that the sewer water is not moving at all, because it's an old, unused sewer. I decided detailing it would seem unnecessarily pedantic. Then again, there's no reason you can't make the water be moving if it fits with your plan for the encounter. In this case, I didn't want to say "no it's not happening," so as to deny you the freedom to make it happen if you wanted it to.

2) I'm with you on the ceiling height thing, though the standard assumption in a dungeon is the same as the width (in this case very appropriate since the halls are meant to be tentacles) or 10-20 feet. Sorry I didn't make that clear. But this is one of those cases where maybe you as a DM don't want the heroes to be able to get up to a 20 ft ceiling and thus out of threat range. I would like you to have the freedom to do that.

3) Falling does NOT consume movement. If it did, and pcs could only fall 6 spaces a round (or 12 if they double fall), then the feather fall spell would be pretty redundant. I think the rules specify how far you fall in a single round, which is something like 1000 feet or 200 squares (how's that for wonky physics?). Then again (and I'm pretty sure the adventure does say this--or at least I wrote it that way in my submittal), the slimes' "death from above" attack is a charge, which always ends a turn. So they're not moving after they drop from the ceiling.

4) I'm not sure why the canoe thing got cut off--like as not it's a printing error. On my original map, there's a clear canoe there.

5) The buildings surrounding each encounter are there for scenery. Who would want to fight a series of battles in flat, unadorned landscapes with no boundaries? As such, the buildings do not have anything in them except what you, the DM, put there. I didn't put anything in them because in the majority of cases (85-90% of encounters), the PCs will not interact with them. I only want to put in those things that are most likely going to be used. Then again, as a DM, you have the freedom/responsibility to be able to answer those questions as they arise.

Cheers


P.S. I brought up the menu thing specifically because I read about you making that menu. So it really just illustrates my point.
Heh. You don't have to be NEARLY that polite when you disagree with me. Though I do appreciate it.



Well, overall I really like this adventure, and I also really appreciate the tremendous level of support that you've given to us. And I didn't want that to get lost in what is, as I mentioned, really a minor complaint.
- Rico
Never doubted that.

I appreciate the feedback.

Cheers
My only complaints on the season are really in line with what Gimper said. This being my first full season as a DM, I was amazed (and I'm sure somewhat spoiled now) by the amount of face time that you have put in on this forum, Erik. It greatly helps understand the intent of certain characters and scenes while giving input from the source himself on possible side steps to obvious possibilities.

As for the session

Ignore the slimes, kill the *blurp*

I was once more running the dwarf table at our little comic shop in Vegas. I ran the encounter with three oozes and the unsolidified plan of having tentacles simply retreat unless it was a crit. The fight would be over when the slimes were dead. We had the organizer play at the dwarf table as well since they were two shy of their normal group and theirs was the only table she hadn't played at yet.

Side story : Earlier in the day I decided the oozes would have names. Frank, Steve, and Ned. (Later I realized they could have had badges with those names floating inside them - oh well) I emailed the organizer and told her my plans - she responded with "Give Ned a +3 to hit." I never pass an opportunity to mess with the dwarves so I agreed. Neither of us knew she was going to be at the table until later - she almost bit it because of that.

Anyway, the characters all stood up after making their way through the pipe and helped the two players who had taken a dunk to get out of the water. They began to ask the Dead Rat a question when the warlord (organizer) decided to go look around and drew the attention of the slimes / kraken. Before they got two sentences from Nix, a tentacle cracked his back and sucked him to the watery depths. And they felt the ground shake as something large seemed to slam against it from below... The tentacles began swarming the group, doing decent damage and immobilizing foes. The slimes quickly jumped in and chaos ensued everywhere. The slimes were quickly identified as the immediate threat (the only attack against a tentacle was the very first attack by the players and it crit a tentacle grabbing a paladin). The paladin took some 90 damage I believe with another couple hundred spread among the party.They were hurt when it was over but they pulled a victory from the clutches of defeat and met Arlon. They quickly (VERY QUICKLY) agreed to stop the Lost Heir and rested up for the night. Now we see what happens as we head into the last chapter of Encounters for the season...
Is "*blurp*" slime-speak for "warlord"?

Yes, playing at your table made me realize I should never, ever, EVER give you advice on how to mess with the dwarves again! Cause I never know when I might end up on your table, unconscious and drowning before I get my first action in the encounter!

Seriously-- Ned's buffing (which was like a twitter buff... but for the DM!) was largely negated by the fact that he focused on me and nearly killed me off the bat.
Show

On that table, my warlord got some good RP in, when she (as the "possible true heir") kept her own counsel and didn't lay claim to being the heir. All along, she's been a "hang in the back and decide if Neverwinter really *needs* a lost heir to come forth, and whether she herself is even interested in the job.

In the second table of the night (we have to run 2 time slots, because we ran out of tables!), the DM originally gave the tentacles threatening reach. I pointed out that this basically locked us down from moving at all, due to the cramped space of the sewers.

The second table's session  ended with more fun RP, as VileSin's bladesinger and my "eladrin" (shapeshifter) swordmage had a few words. Naya (swordmage) had been in disguise, and shifted form back to her eladrin face just as the Sons of Alagandor arrived. We got into a discussion about "oh, my god, what ARE you?!?" and Naya keeps insisting she's an eladrin. It's just her spellscar that makes it so she can shapeshift, you see?

The Disney Table was the only one where the surviving Dead Rat made it through the encounter. Keira the rogue (played by a 12 year old girl) sacrificed two rounds of combat advantage attacks so she could get to him and protect him long enough for him to survive. We have an optional renown reward for our <15 players called Moment of Mercy-- when they do things that support heroic goals, protecting the innocent, etc, they can earn an extra renown point, once per chapter. This chapter didn't have many opportunities to be truly heroic, so the DM let the Dead Rat survive for a couple of extra rounds just so the kids would have the chance. Keira's played definitely earned hers last week!

On the General Mayhem table, things took a darker turn, when "Lily" (who should really have infamy across tables and even locations by now) bloodthirstily attacked everything, including the Sons. This is the same character who burned down the Leviathan and threatened the barmaids' virtue.... There are wanted posters with her wicked face on them going up all over town.
 
I'm surprised no one mentioned it but my table of only 4 this week kicked this encounter pretty easily. The druid who was a devil's pawn got a good initiative and moved into position to do autodamage to 5 of the tentacles (or was it six) without hitting a single character. I had to randomly put d6 (rolled 5) of them back up next round to remotely challenge them but their AC was not really an issue with the average character having a +9 or +10 to hit. They couldn't seem to roll bad so it went fast. The slimes didn't do that much either.
We have an optional renown reward called Moment of Mercy-- when they do things that support heroic goals, protecting the innocent, etc, they can earn an extra renown point, once per chapter.  


That's a great idea!
- Rico