[DM ONLY!!!] Session 8 questions and issues

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I ran session 8 last night for my DMs. Below are some of the concerns and suggested changes.

If you are a player, DO NOT READ THIS POST! It'll ruin the fun for you, I promise!

Channelling (questions/suggestions):

The channeling doesn't say what type of action the actual channel is, compared to the arcana check.

Is it: 1 arcana check (standard) which unlocks either the attack power, or disconnects her from the storm? In which case, is the attack power also a standard action, and if so does that mean the PC can't use it till next round? Or, is it every round, you make an arcana check, which either lets you use the attack, or disconnects her from the storm, depending on how well you do?

We played it that you make an arcana check every round, and the result is either the attack power or the disconnect, depending on what DC you hit.

Also, why is it "non-martial only"? I have a warlord who is trained in arcana. Mucking with the storm is a better use of her inability to hit than anything except causing the striker to attack again and again.

The brand (issue/suggestion)

Vargas has a brand on his chest that triggers Hellfire Retribution when he gets bloodied. The wording on this power is odd, since it says "on his turn." So, he basically has to get hit by an opportunity attack in order for this to trigger. Frankly, we removed "on his turn" from the wording, and still had no problem turning this war wizard into paste.

I ruled that hellfire retribution and storm jaunt couldn't trigger off the same attack, because the storm jaunt interrupts the attack and causes it not to land.

Diplomacy (suggestion)

I decided that it made sense for Karis to be more likely to be swayed if the PCs try to talk her down while Vargas is still alive. The way the module is written, diplomacy is only any option is Vargas dies and Karis is alive. Changing that meant that Karis and Vargas can have a touching reunion at the end, when the insanity falls from her eyes, yet it's still in his.

Green guy (issue/questions)

Chartilifax is a great opponent, but there's a point at which I had to say "I'm a dragon with plot immunity." Because prone, slowed flying creatures have a VERY hard time getting away, even if they choose to do so when they have 60 hp left. Our knight would have killed him if I didn't get lucky on the luring glare. That was the only thing that let Chartilifax limp off the rooftop and into the storm.

The storm (suggestions)

My advice to the DMs was: don't be subtle about what the storm can do, or the fact the storm can be manipulated, or the diplomacy option, or anything. Most PCs will consider falling off the roof to be a death sentence-- they're several floors up on a tower, after all!

It's a cheat, but if your PCs are continually succeeding in their forced-move saving throws (I was having the enemies try to pull, push, and slide the PCs off the roof), and they're not getting your hints like "the storm is really buffeting you up here-- there's a big up-draft, even!" then give Vargas an instant reroll power, which can recharge if it fails. It's simple:

Curse of the Storm (Recharge if the enemy saves anyway)
Trigger: enemy makes a saving throw to avoid forced movement into hindering terrain. 
Effect: The enemy must re-roll the saving throw and use the second result.

This means that PCs will be making 2 saving throws to not be forced off the rooftop. The chances are, at least one of them will be thrown into the air and get to ride the storm. This is incredibly fun, because now you have PCs flying around the battlefield-- as soon as one shows it can be done, the rest will be flinging themselves into the winds. Whee!!!
I agree on the Arcana point.  I had already planned to ignore the 'non Martial' classes restriction and (since Arcana checks are basically the detect Magic of 4E) give all Arcana-trained folks a check when they get on the roof to determine the unique properties in play.
Here are my intensions as regards some of these issues:

Channeling the Storm: The Standard action is to make the Arcana check. If you succeed on the check, you immediately make the attack. It's all the same action. Two checks (though one is fairly easy) to make an attack is maybe not as efficient as just a single attack, but the trade-off in extra damage is worth it, I think.

I did not intend for it to be limited to non-martial characters. I would suggest in this instance that it requires "training in Arcana or a non-martial background."

Hellfire Aura: This is poor wording on the power. When they say "HIS turn," they mean the "PC's turn." What it really should say is "his or her turn." The intention is that if a PC runs up and attacks the wizard, the aura does damage, but if the wizard in some way provokes opportunity attacks through his own stupidity or a special power, that doesn't necessarily damage a PC.

Chartilifax: This guy should have no plot armor unless you the DM decide he should. Feel free to kill him. He can always come back in another form, resurrected by his aberrant masters, etc, if you feel the need.

Diplomacy: Great edit. I always approve increasing RP coolness.

Broken Lightning Spear: You didn't ask about this, but in case it's relevant, there is a situation in the book in which the wizard breaks his spear, and it then says he can no longer make lightning spear attacks. As this is his only at-will attack, that effectively cripples him for the (probably short) rest of the combat). My suggestion here is that he can still use the attack as a ranged attack (a small lightning bolt) or a melee 1 touch attack (like a shocking grasp).

I suspect this happened in development, where the developers saw that he had two at-will attacks (melee lightning spear and ranged lightning bolt) and thought to combine them into one, without noting that piece of text that says he can no longer make the lightning spear attack.

Erik (the Author)
Thanks for chiming in, Erik!

I actually really liked having the aura affect no matter whose turn it was. Provoking an attack of opportunity that results in that kind of backlash is a very PC-ish thing to do, and I *love* turning player tactics against them.

Thanks for the note on Chartilifax. I gave him plot immunity in Session 6 (the PCs technically dropped him), though it was a close one. In this session, the knight spent several rounds locked in melee combat with the dragon, slamming Chartilifax to the ground with slow-prone cheese, over and over. The instinctive flyby doesn't specifically say he can use that action to get up, so he just lashed out with his bite each time.  It was quite the epic fight, with the knight (a previous hero of Neverwinter from the Lost Crown season) taunting him and mocking him with the previous victory over the white dragon in Lost Crown.

Eventually, Chartilifax got a lucky hit in on the knight and was able to use luring gaze to push him to the edge of the rooftop. That's when he used his move action to crawl to the edge of the roof and leap/fall into the storm. He didn't *need* plot immunity, but only because he got extremely lucky. I'll suggest to my DMs tonight that he can be killed, the the DMs' discretion.