DDXP 2010 - Battle Interactive..

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I would like to hear details about the battle interactive..

- How many people participated?
- Was it similar to the old Living Greyhawk interactives?
- Was there an "walk around" interactive type section?
- Were different tables at the interactive allowed to interfear/help with each other?
- Did you get to "pick sides".. spliting the players into seperate factions?
- When will this interactive be available for other cons to order?
- what were the rewards? (It is my understanding that these rewards will be changed for any later cons)

Partial answers, because I don't want to spoil...

- I'd estimate around 50 tables on day 1 and maybe 30-35 on day 2?
- Never did an LG interactive.
- There was not.
- Help, yes. Interfere, no.
- Not as such.
- No idea.
- Not spoiling. 

I think I heard one of the marshals for the Specials (and bi) saying he was planing on having it at his con later in a march-april time frame I believe.

I can't answer the rest of your questions, but I gotta say while there wasn't alot of moving between tables there were tables who helped other tables mine did at least  

And I had a complete blast playing it and look forwards to more in the future.

Ben

It was mostly table-based. 

There was *potential* for walk-around, but few people took that intitative, mainly choosing to shout their positions from their own tables (some form of adventurer consensus had to be reached during this part of the BI).  But as far a detailed RP - no, there wasn't any. 


There was no"faction-based" interaction that I could see.  We were mostly working toward the same ends, and nothing was overtly introduced by the writers.  The only faction-based anything was the environmental effects on undead/spellscarred PCs.  I suppose if certain PCs had wanted to sabotage stuff, there would have been opportunity to consult with the judges/writers to try to make something happen...but if that happened, it wasn't apparent at all.

The only "help" came when one table had completed their objectives and were available to help bail out other tables in trouble.  No sabotage to be seen, at least to my eyes. 

There were a number of "fun" surprises, and the atmosphere generated by Sean (and Shawn and Greg) was a lot of fun (at least for me).


No idea as to the rest of the questions.


Oh yeah, and the "Unlikely Allies" Ad. Co. ruled the school! 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/8.jpg)

I need to talk "Momma Potts" into switching over to LFR. She would have found some way to convince a few tables into fighting against the common goal.
I would like to hear details about the battle interactive..

- How many people participated?
- Was it similar to the old Living Greyhawk interactives?
- Was there an "walk around" interactive type section?
- Were different tables at the interactive allowed to interfear/help with each other?
- Did you get to "pick sides".. spliting the players into seperate factions?
- When will this interactive be available for other cons to order?
- what were the rewards? (It is my understanding that these rewards will be changed for any later cons)



1) 53 tables ran over two days, with slightly less than half of the 25 tables on the second day being replayers.

2) LG interactives were varied, so yes, it was like some of them.

3) There wasn't alot of moving between tables. Given the space, we constrained it a bit because we didn't want to promote jostling or the potential for someone to get hurt. Resolutions were dealt with largely by impassioned shouting from tables and then voting.

4) We allowed tables to shift some of their opponent's to nearby tables (with the monsters adjusting to the level of the table they moved to) for ten minutes real time, giving tables in trouble a breather to heal or regroup or flee.

5) Everyone was pretty much one the same side (though some races may have had some thoughts about why the group should vote one way or the other).

6) We hope it will be available in just a few weeks for public play (only). I don't have a firm date yet since everyone just got home from the con, but I would expect that come March, you will see it.

7) There was a full page cert with several story objects based the choices made during the BI. These did not have any mechanical effects. I imagine this cert or some close variation will be in the version orderable for conventions. There were unique items in the BI and in the special that were determined by a random roll. These did have mechanical effects and will NOT be found in the version orderable for public play.

7) There was a full page cert with several story objects based the choices made during the BI. These did not have any mechanical effects. I imagine this cert or some close variation will be in the version orderable for conventions. There were unique items in the BI and in the special that were determined by a random roll. These did have mechanical effects and will NOT be found in the version orderable for public play.


By random roll, do you mean "deck of cards"? My table didn't see any randomly determined rewards, although that may be due to our success level. We did see some other cool randomness.

Okay. Since I can't seem to find it, what is a "Battle Interactive"? Obviously there is some kind of interaction between tables of players, but I'm unclear how and in what context.
-Sartredes

7) There was a full page cert with several story objects based the choices made during the BI. These did not have any mechanical effects. I imagine this cert or some close variation will be in the version orderable for conventions. There were unique items in the BI and in the special that were determined by a random roll. These did have mechanical effects and will NOT be found in the version orderable for public play.


By random roll, do you mean "deck of cards"? My table didn't see any randomly determined rewards, although that may be due to our success level. We did see some other cool randomness.




If I remember correctly, there were 5 or so random participants from randomly selected tables who were called up at the end of the BI to claim their goodness (looked like certs).

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/8.jpg)

You may have noticed at the very end of each BI (Friday and Saturday) we had five players cross off a reward that everyone else got and had them come forward to recieve a special cert that was unique. That was determined by removing all the names, rolling dice to determine the table number (one per tier, using the card from mission one) and then rolled the character number off the table tracking card they turned in for the vote. Once we had those we figured out the character name from the tracking (so we didn't actually know the players till we called the character names).

The deck of cards were for the random determination of the effects of the second round.
Had a great time.  To answer the OP (at least with info not already posted):

2/3. It was similar to some of the LG BI's.  There was not the "typical" RP event followed by combat.  My personal take was that this was meant to "test the waters" for potential future BIs.  Based on my experience, I'd like to think that we will see these (or some variation) in the future.  I know that our local group will make the effort to attend and participate if there are more opportunities.

7.  I'm somewhat curious as to what the "special" rewards were.  No one at my table got one.  Since they are not going to be available to anyone else, would you mind spilling the beans Skerrit?

That said, let me take the opportunity to thank all everyone involved with the BI.  The folks I ventured to Ft. Wayne with had a great time and it seemed like our table was very pleased even if we could only manage to make the baseline contribution (2 defenders, 2 leaders, and 1 striker really limits the number of monsters we could plow through quickly).  Our judge (Dan A.) was clearly very prepared and things went extremely smoothly (not something I can say for every slot we played).
I'm not sure what we plan to do, but I expect we plan to announce what those special rewards were in some fashion so everyone can see them. I myself am not anywhere were I have text handy but the special gave a Divine Boon (takes up an item slot though I believe), and the BI gave a chunk of a monolith that requires you play with 12 unique characters (and get them to sign the page) and then hand to a global at DDXP, Origins, or GenCon and see what it morphs into. Right now it just makes you also count as spellscarred without giving you a spellscar.
A Battle Interactive (BI) is one particular type of an interactive, which are designed as large group events.  In a normal adventure, there are only 4-6 adventurers going on said mission.  In a BI, there may be many more adventurers going on the same or parallel missions, although they may be group into similar sized teams.  Think of a massive battlefield where each team is like a squad of soldiers who may be able to help their neighboring squads out if they get in trouble.  The degree of interactivity may vary by design, such as passing messages, asking for help, retargeting based upon discovery, enemy reactions or change in plans, and rescue missions.  A BI is highly combat oriented and is pretty obviously a massive battle. (Attempts to try large number of players standing around a diaroma of the battlefield have been tried, but it does not work well for speed of play or individual opportunities for involvement.)

Interactives may include live action role playing (LARPs) where you walk around, possibly in costume, and role play your character, typically for social activities and intrigue.  Interactives might include "shopping" and "services" which are metacampaign type of activities.  Neither of these two styles are likely for LFR.  A mini-mission style may divide teams into different tasks or objectives, usually all related to a shared goal, but less likely to be a massive battle.

Keith
Keith Hoffman LFR Writing Director for Waterdeep
My feelings were mixed about the interactive.

Good:
Lots of emotion and enthusiasm - both from the players and judges. presented very well.
Some random elements - cards provided a random, tangible effect.
Some repercussions for poor choices - you side with evil, you get punished, simple enough.
Efficient mustering - tables were made quickly (atleast it seemed to me) and started quickly. Judges seemed to be well organized.
Prior module results included in the overall story (nice tie-ins).
Encounters were (mostly) better prepared; combat started slowly. A change from the "you start in this box and are attacked with AoEs).
The combat difficulty seemed appropriate all be it rushed.

Weak:
Rewards; no flavor - pick an item, blah blah blah. There's soo many ways to spice up items with flavor...
Player to player Interaction was very limited. Given the time constraints, every table should have finshed their goals but many didn't because they wouldn't ask for help from the already finished tables. No real interaction on major story decisions. Tables voted quietly and a direction was decided by the GMs.
Options for reinforcements appeared to have no real effect (it could have been done better).
Last encounter was challenging as you start in this box, take automatic box text damage and then abunch of AoE...then you get to play.

Ultimately, it was a series of encounters and a GM narrated the story. I would consider it a generic LG battle interactive....just average.
Okay. Since I can't seem to find it, what is a "Battle Interactive"? Obviously there is some kind of interaction between tables of players, but I'm unclear how and in what context.



There really isn't a standard definition of a battle interactive...but, in essence, it's an adventure designed to be played at larger gatherings (conventions, big game days), in which multiple tables of characters are experiencing the same plot event at the same time.

So, instead of a typical adventure, in which there is a party of 4-6 adventurers facing opponents, in a BI, there may be dozens, even hundreds, of adventurers who are, together, facing common opponents (though it is still resoved at individual tables of 4-6 characters).

The fact that this is happening in "real time" may allow characters from one table to affect what's going on at another table in some way -- in this BI, it sounds like characters at a table who had finished an encounter were allowed to "help out" another table that was struggling, by taking on some of their opponents.


"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
Last encounter was challenging as you start in this box, take automatic box text damage and then abunch of AoE...then you get to play.

I believe the amount of "auotmatic" damage depended upon what the group collectively decided to do with the Companion.

Unless I misunderstood you, and you just meant "We lost initiative and got blasted by area effects before we could take any actions."

You may have noticed at the very end of each BI (Friday and Saturday) we had five players cross off a reward that everyone else got and had them come forward to recieve a special cert that was unique. That was determined by removing all the names, rolling dice to determine the table number (one per tier, using the card from mission one) and then rolled the character number off the table tracking card they turned in for the vote. Once we had those we figured out the character name from the tracking (so we didn't actually know the players till we called the character names).



Oh, that's what that was! That's pretty cool.
A Battle Interactive (BI) is one particular type of an interactive, which are designed as large group events.  In a normal adventure, there are only 4-6 adventurers going on said mission.  In a BI, there may be many more adventurers going on the same or parallel missions, although they may be group into similar sized teams.  Think of a massive battlefield where each team is like a squad of soldiers who may be able to help their neighboring squads out if they get in trouble.  The degree of interactivity may vary by design, such as passing messages, asking for help, retargeting based upon discovery, enemy reactions or change in plans, and rescue missions.  A BI is highly combat oriented and is pretty obviously a massive battle. (Attempts to try large number of players standing around a diaroma of the battlefield have been tried, but it does not work well for speed of play or individual opportunities for involvement.)

Interactives may include live action role playing (LARPs) where you walk around, possibly in costume, and role play your character, typically for social activities and intrigue.  Interactives might include "shopping" and "services" which are metacampaign type of activities.  Neither of these two styles are likely for LFR.  A mini-mission style may divide teams into different tasks or objectives, usually all related to a shared goal, but less likely to be a massive battle.

Keith

Ok. This jives with what I thinking. Thanks for the clarification.
-Sartredes
Last encounter was challenging as you start in this box, take automatic box text damage and then abunch of AoE...then you get to play.

I believe the amount of "auotmatic" damage depended upon what the group collectively decided to do with the Companion.

Unless I misunderstood you, and you just meant "We lost initiative and got blasted by area effects before we could take any actions."




If I'm reading his post correctly, I think it is more like:

"Our DM forced us to start in a ridiculously compact and vulnerable formation that we would never select if we were determining our marchng formation because it was dictated by the "players start here" penalty box--then the monsters won init and all took advantage of it by hitting us with area effects thereby rubbing our noses in the fact that we had been forced into a monumentally stupid formation."

Obviously the note in the boilerplate text about the "player's start here" box is not sufficient to get the point across. I still think we should discard the box entirely and just put an X or something for "PC starting position" to make it clear that players may choose their own formations. Alternately, I suppose we could just refuse to start in the box--bring a copy of the boilerplate text that says we don't have to be in it, put our minis outside the box and read the text to the DM when he complains.

--EDIT--Assuming the subsequent post is accurate, the particular encounter does not have a penalty box in it. If that is the case, I applaud the decision of the authors and editors not to use the "PCs start here" box in this case and hope that this is the beginning of a more general trend. However, the above still seems like the most reasonable reading of the post in question so I can only assume that the DM in question was more restrictive than the adventure justified or the original poster was engaging in hyperbole.
Ok, having run the BI twice:
1) There is no "PCs start here" box in the final encounter (or, I believe, any encounter). There are instructions as to where the PCs are allowed to start, but they are *very* generous. Any "you must start in this box" direction came from the DM, not from the adventure.
2) There was boxed text damage in the adventure, but only PCs in the first run took it, and not even everyone then. Whether you took boxed text damage and how much was dictated by choices made by the PCs both as a group and individually.
3) Yes, there is some mean area effect stuff. It's a difficult adventure, and I don't think anyone was misled about that.
4) Complaints about adventures should probably only be made by people who actually played or DMed the adventure. I'm not naming names here, but it is apparent from comments made that at least one person making strong statements in this thread either did not play the adventure and is making assumptions about it based on other comments, *really* was not paying attention during the adventure, or had an absolutely wretched DM (and I hope that if it's the third, Dave Christ was notified about the bad DM both via the DM feedback card provided at the event and via private message or e-mail after the convention).
John du Bois Living Forgotten Realms Writing Director, Netheril story area Follow me on The Twitter: @JohnduBois Follow my presence on The Intertubes: johncdubois.wordpress.com
If I'm reading his post, I think it is more like:

Our DM forced us to start in a ridiculously compact and vulnerable formation that we would never select if we were determining our marchng formation because it was dictated by the "players start here" penalty box--then the monsters won init and all took advantage of it by hitting us with area effects thereby rubbing our noses in the fact that we had been forced into a monumentally stupid formation.

Obviously the note in the boilerplate text about the "player's start here" box is not sufficient to get the point across. I still think we should discard the box entirely and just put an X or something for "PC starting position" to make it clear that players may choose their own formations. Alternately, I suppose we could just refuse to start in the box--bring a copy of the boilerplate text that says we don't have to be in it, put our minis outside the box and read the text to the DM when he complains.


That would be projection, not reading. Nothing of the sort happened. No forced formation penalty box, no nose rubbing and no tangible connection to the boilerplate.

I understand you want to make a point about something that irks you, but I fear the thread you selected for attaching this particular gripe add-on is incompatible with it. If so desired I will gladly create a post about said subjects, but would like to not see this one derailed onto a utterly unrelated track. Thank you.
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the BI gave a chunk of a monolith that requires you play with 12 unique characters (and get them to sign the page) and then hand to a global at DDXP, Origins, or GenCon and see what it morphs into.



Is there any benefit for getting more than 12 unique characters to sign?  The UNIQ01 reward does not actually say anything about 12 characters. It says to have each unique character sign it, and talks about adding additional pages if you run out of room for signatures.  Those who got this reward at P2 will have a hard time getting signatures due to the lack of P2+ adventures right now, whereas the H1 people could probably get 100 signatures if they tried.

the BI gave a chunk of a monolith that requires you play with 12 unique characters (and get them to sign the page) and then hand to a global at DDXP, Origins, or GenCon and see what it morphs into.



Is there any benefit for getting more than 12 unique characters to sign?  The UNIQ01 reward does not actually say anything about 12 characters. It says to have each unique character sign it, and talks about adding additional pages if you run out of room for signatures.  Those who got this reward at P2 will have a hard time getting signatures due to the lack of P2+ adventures right now, whereas the H1 people could probably get 100 signatures if they tried.



Was UNIQ01 received only by some players? I don't recall my table getting anything like that (we had one cert with ADCP07, Fragment of the Monolith, but it has no text regarding collecting signatures). I didn't look at the certs when I judged.

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the BI gave a chunk of a monolith that requires you play with 12 unique characters (and get them to sign the page) and then hand to a global at DDXP, Origins, or GenCon and see what it morphs into.



Is there any benefit for getting more than 12 unique characters to sign?  The UNIQ01 reward does not actually say anything about 12 characters. It says to have each unique character sign it, and talks about adding additional pages if you run out of room for signatures.  Those who got this reward at P2 will have a hard time getting signatures due to the lack of P2+ adventures right now, whereas the H1 people could probably get 100 signatures if they tried.



Was UNIQ01 received only by some players? I don't recall my table getting anything like that (we had one cert with ADCP07, Fragment of the Monolith, but it has no text regarding collecting signatures). I didn't look at the certs when I judged.


If you recall at the end of the BI when they called five players up, one at each tier each day, those people got the UNIQ01 award instead of ADCP07.
John du Bois Living Forgotten Realms Writing Director, Netheril story area Follow me on The Twitter: @JohnduBois Follow my presence on The Intertubes: johncdubois.wordpress.com
the BI gave a chunk of a monolith that requires you play with 12 unique characters (and get them to sign the page) and then hand to a global at DDXP, Origins, or GenCon and see what it morphs into.



Is there any benefit for getting more than 12 unique characters to sign?  The UNIQ01 reward does not actually say anything about 12 characters. It says to have each unique character sign it, and talks about adding additional pages if you run out of room for signatures.  Those who got this reward at P2 will have a hard time getting signatures due to the lack of P2+ adventures right now, whereas the H1 people could probably get 100 signatures if they tried.




We might have removed the number from the text. As I said I was trying trying to recall it from memory. Just follow the directions on the story object and you will be fine.
If you recall at the end of the BI when they called five players up, one at each table, those people got the UNIQ01 award instead of ADCP07.



One per tier, not per table.

If you recall at the end of the BI when they called five players up, one at each table, those people got the UNIQ01 award instead of ADCP07.



One per tier, not per table.




Damnit, I knew that. Teaches me to post pre-caffiene.
John du Bois Living Forgotten Realms Writing Director, Netheril story area Follow me on The Twitter: @JohnduBois Follow my presence on The Intertubes: johncdubois.wordpress.com
Ok, having run the BI twice:
1) There is no "PCs start here" box in the final encounter (or, I believe, any encounter).



I don't wish to drag this on ( I think our judge ran a fine table), but to clarify;

You're in a room having a celebration after a 8 hour (real time) event. Of course our group sat together at a table.
Box text begins:
Presentation by NPCs
NPCs killling NPCs
NPC portals
NPCs move in
NPC leave
PCs take box text damage. (and yes, we played the first round and yes we chose to help - it was an interactive and we are heroes afterall).
Initiative
Lots of AoE and ranged damage.
Players can play

Again, we survived, it was quite challenging, I simply (and most important) personally didn't like the mechanism. No attacks on judges, nothing about the writers. I appreciate the effort by the staff and stated it as such.


PCs take box text damage.


I think this step was based on decisions PCs made. The damage was an 'adjustment' to reflect choices made by PCs. It played differently each day because the players made different choices. So, it wasn't so much that the encounter was trying to kill you as the players receiving the impacts of their decisions. (I'm avoiding spoilers).

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Alphastream1 is correct.
I loved the BI, my congratulations to the event staff- we all had a great time!
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Our group of six traveled to DnDXP for the sole purpose of playing in the BI - without it I do not think any of us would have been there.  So in that regards, the BI is definitely something I would recommend  continuing in the future.

As far as I know, we all had a very good time, and managed to score commendations in Six of the Seven Encounters playing at P1 with level 12 characters on high. 

My thoughts:>

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Overall encounter design was very good - the encounters provided a variety of different challenges and each character type was given opportunities to shine in at least one situation. 

Encounter one was easily the most tactically challenging encounter I have ever played in an LFR event - more encounters of this type would be appreciated.  Killing bad guys is easy.  Keeping bad guys from killing good guys is entirely different cup of tea.  It was awesome, really enjoyed it, and even with all of our efforts we only saved 11 of the 12. 

The skill challenge was also very intersting - there was a constant sense of tension and strategies had to evolve every round as the challenge kept increasing.

Encounter two was tactically interesting, but most of the terrain was too unpredictable to 'risk' interfering with - this certainly limited the encounter to some degree. 

I found Encounter 3 to be somewhat anti-climatic, a time element or somethign similar would have probably helped.   We were able to defeat two of them, but were not really ever threatened by the situation. 

The final encounter seemed to be mostly dessert - the primary badguy lasted less then two rounds, and it was mostly friendly mop-up after that.  The judge then introduced a second bad guy several levels higher then the first one - that proved to be quite a bit more challenging. 

Table interaction I found to be limiting, and overall my only true disappointment with the event.  We were able to pull bady guys off of other tables on two occasions to help out some other groups, but other then that there was very little actual 'interaction' for an event named Battle Interactive.  I was hoping there would be more observation and interaction with neighboring tables - as they failed or succeeded the situation at the current table would change - and that was not at all the case. 

My suggestion would be to remove reinforcements at the beginning, and instead at the 20 minute mark, every table gets +1 monster (or whatever the encounter calls for).  With permission of the neighboring table commander, this monster can instead be shifted to any adjacent table.  At the 50 minute mark, do it again.  In this fashion, the table commander's truly care about the situation at their neighboring tables, and as a group tables can attempt to manage the oncoming monsters to shift them away from the weaker tables towards teh stronger tables. 

Final point - monsters at P1 do too little damage.  As a party we had 6 daily heals - none of them were ever used for the entire day.  We did have one character reduced to onconsciousness who promptly failed his first death saving throw, but a potion of healing restored him and that was the closest that anyone came to being truly threatened with death. 

I think the encounter desing was fantastic - I just beleive monsters need to generate a higher level of basic damage at those levels to actually push the resources of a party.
I think part of the consideration for the design of this BI reflected the uncertainty of WotC towards BIs.  We wanted to be somewhat conservative, i.e., lean towards a style we knew they were comfortable with.   LFR needed a success in their eyes with a BI right off the bat.

Keith
Keith Hoffman LFR Writing Director for Waterdeep
I loved the BI, my congratulations to the event staff- we all had a great time!


I was at the same table as Matt James, and I can only echo his comments. We were adequately challenged at P2, and we didn't end up stunned or dazed or blinded through half the encounters. Paragon tier can work without removing all of the heroes' actions.

I'll say this about the BI and also the other P1 and P2 material I played at DDXP: well done!  There was a good range of fight difficulty, even a few fights that downed (but didn't kill) members of my party. However, there was very little of the action denial that was present in earlier paragon modules.  The damage seemed much more appropriate (higher) than before.  I had a great time, and I'm glad to see that the BI was a success so the campaign leadership can move forward and be more adventurous with the next one.
I was amazed at the amount of people, including WotC employees, that had never heard of a battle interactive before. Anyways, they seemed to be just as impressed and I am sure we will see more of them in the future.

I will get with Chris Youngs to see if I can write a Dungeon (or Dragon) article piece that is a Realms short-story based on the actions of the participants. It would be great to see adventuring companies and even individual characters featured and forever added to the canon-world of the Forgotten Realms.
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