Post your reports from the field (Week 1)

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I figured we could collect how it went in a thread.

Edit: Great to see many new posters here! Players should be aware that there may be spoilers. Games can take place on different days and timezones. Please try to avoid spoilers if possible, particularly for the next session and in particular for plot points. You can use brackets ([ and ]) around "sblock" and then end the spoiler with brackets around "/sblock" to hide any spoilers. 

Here is my report from Portland, Oregon, where our gaming store has a packed Wednesday and therefore ran some tables on Tuesday.

We ran three full tables and a great time was had by all. The only epic fail to be had was with Pizza Hut - they burned one of our pizzas! (Hey, it happens, we all laughed... the other pizza was great and the whole concept made a lot of people happy). Both DMs and players liked the kit contents. The store owner was pleased to see WotC really pay attention to store play.

At my table of six I had a 9 year-old daughter, a first time player, a player that had played one combat, and at least two others with very little experience. I started by giving them background on what Encounters was about - a handout on the RPGA / organized play, Encounters, and LFR would have been welcome for this crowd. I shared the details and they liked what they heard. I then reviewed how they would get XP, gold, and renown.

I then talked about the setting of Waterdeep and Undermountain at a high level, giving them everyday knowledge. I started them as having heard the rumors and sought each other out - they then could ask questions and make skill checks to learn more. This gave them a way to see that each PC had different strengths and weaknesses, gave nearly everyone a chance to shine, and no question/skill was a bad one - they would at worst lead to their understanding what skill and PC might have that answer.

I liked that the adventure started in a fairly open and relaxed manner. It allowed us to have some good RP, get a feel for what this was about, and start some teamwork.

We then reached the Yawning Portal. I ran this as it is found (with a few more descriptions and giving them time to order food and drink) and it worked fine. They bit on the hook pretty easily.

The combat went well. The terrain was fun. I used actual tiles on top of 1" blocks so that the raised tiles were actually raised and had a 3-D feel. It wasn't super-stable, but I was happy and it did survive the combat. The players seemed to enjoy it.

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The other thing I did is create tents for the NPCs. This helped to give a little more depth to each creature they were fighting or speaking with. I also tried to RP each of them both in response to player actions and on their own turns. The dwarves challenged the PC dwarf, the tiefling howled when cursed by the warlock, and so on.

The combat was a little too challenging by design, so I took appropriate steps to keep things fun. I know 4E well, and I didn't choose powers optimally... it would have been too difficult if I had. Instead, I spread damage around and often used basic attacks to make sure the PCs could get some time to figure things out. I made it clear when a foe used an encounter or rechargeable power by explaining how the NPC dug deep, spent a large amount of their energy, etc. so that players could assess the NPC capabilities. With so many players being new, I had to remind them not to all spend dailies and action points... there is more to come!

The players had a great time and did a good job of communicating. I was very impressed, really, given that they were so new. (If any of you read this, thanks for a great time - oh, and I have a trip next week but will be back for the third session; other DMs will be there to cover for me!).

Our store took a bunch of pictures and the kit contents were used well.

We did not do anything with twitter, having started a bit early, but in retrospect I think what stores should do is to have one organizer monitor the feed and call it out - it would be really distracting if it were a judge checking their phone all the time. You also don't want players thinking about tech or tweeting when they should be immersed in the adventure. Having an organizer translate the tweets to gaming terms seems ideal.

Edit: I should mention that all of my players had used the Character Builder to create a PC they brought with them (instead of coming for a pregen). I thought that was interesting. It was largely to get renown, even with players that didn't understand the renown system very well. Also, I used minis and brought minis for players to borrow, which was appreciated by the players (and caused interest in finding the particular mini, buying more minis, etc.).

Edit: Portland players can get in on the fun at several locations, but my pick is Guardian Games. Sign-ups here.

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Whoa, that was a very good summary, glad you guys had a fun time! I'm starting to have a feeling that another thread somewhere on this board should soon be renamed how Wizards is going to *Epic-Win* with D&D Encounters Laughing
Excellent summary!
Matt James Freelance Game Designer Loremaster.org

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Just got back from our first session. I had planned my own encounter (a cool airship battle between a civilian ship and a band of marauders) as my store hadn't got the kits yesterday; but today they arrived in the afternoon by express post. So I showed up to the pleasant surprise of both players and the official D&D encounters.
Biggest problem right out of the box was that with effectively 0 prep time I had to skim read the plot line and get a feel for the important NPCs on the spot, and for a session that was split RP and then combat that caused a big problem.
The combat itself was quite easy, I only had 4PCs and they literally mopped the floor with the baddies. But they were all experienced players, most of which with highly optimised characters. The biggest problem was drawing them across the bridge, as none of the foes were terribly great at range (apart from the wizard who they slew early by the end of the first round) so they sat back and just shot ranged attacks at them.
We skipped the end of session Roll Play as I simply did not know what's going on well enough at the time. But that shall be resumed next week.

Over all a good session, I just wish I had some actual prep time.
Thanks for the summary, and a good discussion thread idea. 

We are looking forward to this- we've got four tables fully signed up and had to open up two more tables for tonight. Although I'm the organizer for D&D Encounters for our store (Game Empire Pasadena), the guy who organizes everything else D&D here (monthly Meetup Game Days, WWDND Game Days) is both a player and DM for D&D Encounters.  Here is his blog of the experience...

-Colin
-Alveric "And the sword that had visited Earth from so far away smote like the falling of thunderbolts; and green sparks rose from the armour, and crimson as sword met sword; and thick elvish blood moved slowly, from wide slits, down the cuirass; and Lirazel gazed in awe and wonder and love; and the combatants edged away fighting into the forest; and branches fell on them hacked off by their fight; and the runes in Alveric's far-travelled sword exulted, and roared at the elf-knight; until in the dark of the wood, amongst branches severed from disenchanted trees, with a blow like that of a thunderbolt riving an oak tree, Alveric slew him."
Excellent summary! Wink

The event at Guardian Games had a great turn out and was awesome. The adventure provided looks like it has a lot of great potential and I am excited for the sessions to come.

I was DMing a table with a rogue, psion, fighter (grappler), two rangers (archer) and a monk. There was definitely some ability to dish out damage from the PCs. Overall, a fairly squishy party and no leader.

I am relatively new to DMing 4E in public, and it is my not so humble opinion that these adventures are perfect for newer DMs to gain experience and confidence. I want to offer friendly encouragement to folks who feel a little intimidated about giving the DM role a chance, because this is as good of a time as you will ever get!

I totally agree with that first encounter being pretty tough. I pulled punches to avoid dropping players more than I could stomache and to keep the fun quotient high. I did NOT use ongoing damage or sneak attack damage in order to avoid dropping PCs. The bridge (Bridge of Death) was a difficult bottleneck to break through for the PCs, particularly at a table where 4 PCs were comfortable firing from a distance (besides not effectively focussing fire) and only 2 PCs were melee centric. As a result the unconscious monk had to get a little CPR (heal check to kick in a healing surge) from one of the archer rangers in the middle of the Bridge of Death.

I absolutely loved that first encounter's terrain. It made a seemingly routine fight much more challenging, perhaps a little too challenging for a tussle right out of the gate.

I am looking forward to next week!
We fought some kobolds after our Dragonborn Pally.  Apparently the DM had thrown a prequel-prelude for several players.  They had exp from the prev run and had 'rolled' their scores with dice.  One counter was with kobolds at an the Yawning Portal with Fayne, the other in a 10x80 corridor (preventing movement or most of the party's ability to engage them).  The kobold caster went through a secret door and the DM told us next week we can go into the secret door or go down the hall.  Things seem very different than what other forum posters are talking about...
We fought some kobolds after our Dragonborn Pally.  Apparently the DM had thrown a prequel-prelude for several players.  They had exp from the prev run and had 'rolled' their scores with dice.  One counter was with kobolds at an the Yawning Portal with Fayne, the other in a 10x80 corridor (preventing movement or most of the party's ability to engage them).  The kobold caster went through a secret door and the DM told us next week we can go into the secret door or go down the hall.  Things seem very different than what other forum posters are talking about...


That doesn't sound at all like the first encounters session in the kit.
Show
In the session in the kit you fight a halfling slinger, dwarf, tiefling wizard and two human bandits out behind a tavern called the yawning portal
Not sure what happened with you guys,
Woo Hoo! My first session went off without a hitch and I even had to people make up new characters on the spot in 30 minutes. Those 2 new people were also newbies for 4 ed. I have taught 2 new people the game and they had a real blast. I described every attack and defense during the battle and it was great. People really got into in with how their attack worked and hit the enemies.

I will say though the first fight is a hard fight with the chokepoint and I also pulled the punches ,but even with that I still caused 1 PC to go in minus hitpoints.

We have a Psion(controller),Ardent(leader),Runepriest(leader),Rogue(striker),Druid(controller) and Assassin(striker).

Yep, not very healing heavy and they found that out when they all got low on HP. It should be exciting to see what will happen in the next few sessions. Lets see if they can all figure out tactics ,but then I will teach them as well.

I was having so much fun I forgot to take photos.

EDIT:
I forgot to say that I made player aids by cutting out all the powers and putting them into card sleeves so when they used an power they just flipped it over. It helped for the new people.
James Playing D&D since the Red Box of '83.
We had a really fun at our first session at Legends in Towson, MD. I was the DM for 4 players, one of whom was new to 4th edition. He created a new character on the spot before playing. The party consisted of a halfling paladin, eladrin warlord, elf avenger and stormsoul genasi wizard.

In the Yawning Portal, the avenger was easily perceptive enough to pick up the conversation, and upon relaying the information to the wizard, who became interested in the magic in Undermountain. They figured that Fayne was about to be attacked, so they quickly followed her out.

While it was my mistake to not scale the encounter down for 4 PCs, it was challenging but still fun enough for them all. The tiefling's fire spell took down the avenger twice (the ongoing damage, mostly) and the dwarf was successful in bottlenecking the bridge.

We are all excited about next week!!
I have to say i love the monk. With Crane's wing i was able to jump the gap and between myself and 1 other were able to kill the dwarf and let the other two melee people through the bottleneck. Since everyone was not worried about time there was much more rp than normal, which was a blast.
We had a good session at Coolectors Mall in Owensboro, KY. We had three players, two drove about forty five minutes to an hour to be there. Most opted to use the provided pre-generated characters though I believe they will bring their own characters next time. 

I was a little worried that they would have issues with the fight. I only took out one optional npc to even the encounter. It went better than expected. Only one of the characters was knocked unconcious. And once they got their dice warmed up they did very well.

We were a little crunched for time. Our store closes at seven pm so we had to squeeze in getting set up and the encounter in ninety minutes. We started the session later than expected but were wraping things up at about ten till seven.

We are hoping to get a few more to come out next week.
Had a great time at the Lincoln (Neb) Hobby Town who hosted the initial night of DDE. 2 full groups participated, and things seemed to go pretty smoothly at both tables.

Our group came close to an 'epic fail' on the first round of combat with the fake street gang, having two characters tumble off the rope bridge during the first round (one of which was past-bloodied from the fall due to some vicious dice), a fumbled attack roll and not a single successful attack landed. The tide rapidly turned as the druid tangled and shapechanged his way through the mob of enemies, while the barbarian raged his way back up from the canal to wreak havoc. Our battlemind was toe-to-toe and barely standing with an equally wounded opponent when the bard began pounding his drum and coerced the battered human into surrendering.

Thanks to Joel for DM'ing, and Hobby Town for hosting (as well as WotC for staging the event).

-Grythome
(Kharybdis the valourous hobgoblin bard)
At Agents of Comics in Wichita, KS we had a table of 5 + DM.  We had a Centered Breath Monk. a Stonefist Monk, Marauder Ranger, Great Weapon Fighter and an Archer Warlord.

It went well.  We had the unfortunate buff/hindrance from Twitter of being adjacent to or in a square near the water weakened you.  This I think actually kept us alive the 1st rd of the combat.  Our SF Monk ended up prone at the bottleneck when the Dwarf tried to push him off the bridge.  The fighter rushed up and stood over him and missed his attack.  The rest of us did some ranged attacks with not much luck.  Next round the SF Monk stood up and shifted the 1 square behind the fighter on the bridge.  He proceeded to use his Cranes Wings movement power to jump across from the bridge onto the path near the thugs and dwarf.  He then used an Action point and got to shift 4 (thanks to the Warlord) and went off with his Five Storms power.  That started to turn the tide of battle for a bit for us.  Until the pesky halfling got off his 3 attack power and hit the Fighter with all 3 and basically maxed the damage almost dropping the fighter who luckily is a half-orc and once the 2nd one hit he got his 5 temp hps which kept him conscious.  The other monk got off his open the gates of battle on the hedge wizard and crumpled it to the ground. 

We had a lot of fun and hope that more may show next week.  We have 2 locations running it here and I will see how it went at the other location. 

The baddies made hamburger out of our two minotaurs, a ranger and a ranger/fighter hybrid and added the wilden cleric as a side salad. The dwarf wizard also didn't make it out alive. It just wasn't pretty at all. We were all plagued by low rolls.

In the homegames I've been in, we've never had a character drop, so it was nice to finally have to roll a death saving throw even if I failed them before being finished off.

Hi all -
I served as DM for the first session of Encounters at Double Midnight Comics in Manchester, NH.  Had six players, some new, some experienced, and all but two with their own characters.  We had a blast, but the players really threw me a curve.  One jumped right into Fayne's conversation with the 1st gang and started pulling this wonderful bluff regarding what con artists those guys were and that she (Fayne) really should be doing business with their group.  Going with the flow, it turned out that the players adventuring party went to the back alley with Fayne to talk business, and the other guys (fearing they wouldn't have earned their pay) followed them out instead!

This had most of the party on the other side of the bridge with Fayne as the two defenders stayed on the Inn side to block the bridge.  So this almost reversed the fight!    With six players I added a second dwarf to the mix and decided the halfling was prepositioned outside already, so he was the only one on the same side as the party hiding and waited for a moment to strike.

The fight at first went against the party - the two defenders were getting cut down by the bandits and the dwarves were doing pretty good chucking hammers across the canal as the halfling struck.
But when the party decided to regroup on the far side things turned in their favor (although one did go for a swim in the muck trying to retreat).  The wizard, a bandit, and one dwarf (all bloodied) beat a hasty retreat once the others had fallen.  One player even had the smart idea of cutting one of the ropes to disable the bridge to drop the last dwarf in the canal (a rogue did this so I made it a difficult Thievery check).

So a fun game and a very inventive party which I expect will keep me on my toes week after week.  Can't wait to see how they approach the upcoming scenarios.
Wow this forum system is very unfriendly to new people...

Anyway Just wanted to post that I think the Encounters program is awesome and I really appreciate the work Wizards has put into it so far.

I manage a relatively large shop in Albuquerque NM. We have had several players express interest in the Encounters program and tonight we ran our first group. Most likely other DM's will want to run other games next week, I think St Patties got in the way of having more than the 6 people we had to start with tonight because I had many more people that express interest in playing and gming than showed tonight, and several of the players and gms I called to see if they were going to show up had found themselves at St Patrick parties.


Anyway Thanks. Doing my best to support you guys. I think clearer instructions sent with the kits would have been helpful. If I as a shop signed up for the event do I report it or does the DM who ran it report out of curiousity?

Also I am not exactly clear how the reporting system handles GMs running games starting on different days etc...
Most likely our community could potentially support 5 to 6 groups. That is at least my target goal at the moment.
*moved from independant thread*
OMFG...really?

The title says it all...I'm not typically one to be pessimistic, but seriously OMFG! The setup to Encounter #1 of D&D:Encounters was right out of a bad movie with everyone in the crowd screaming at the dumb blonde with cheezy scary music in the background, "Hey lady you shouldn't go in there!". This was not quite as dumb as me being prohibited from borrowing one of the many everburing torches illuminating the cliche "mysterious entrway to Undermountain" (I don't like being prohibited from doing something because the adventure designers simply didn't think of it).

However the encounter's difficulty was right up there with a "rats in the sewer" or "spiders in the basement" type intoduction encounter, which to me came across as a nice ice-breaker. It gave the party a chance to see their strengths/weakness' and to start thinking of party strategy.

The oddity of it all came when the encounter was over, EXP and Gold was divided up, and this fancy renown point system was unveiled. Being awarded more points for making my character with D&DI Character Builder than I got for both the "Survived the Encounter" and "Did 15+ DMG in a single turn" acheivements was like being smacked in the face with a marketing strategy (come on guys, is subtlety not in our vocabulary?). It was like being paid more for just going to work than you'd get for actually doing anything at work.

I do however plan on sticking with it in hopes of possible improvement next session, but In summary I circle back to the title...OMFG...really?Yell
I DMed for 3 players at Underhill Games in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. We had 2 made characters and 1 pregen (Monk) going against the scaled for 4 badies.

The bad guys won initiative and the 2 ranged guys peppered our heros with fire. The dwarf held the bridge, for awhile, but the bandit got impatient and ran across only to fall in the drink! With all the push, pulls & slides the good guys had ALL the bad guys ended up over the wall! It was without a doubt the WORST string of saving throws I have ever had.

The players agreed that the wizard got his moment of greatness by hitting the opposing wizard, pull him over the edge to plummet to his death. The point I liked was when the dwarf & halfling had just gotten up the ladder and the monk moved across the field hitting the dwarf pretty hard and then getting the dwarf to attack the halfling, killing the halfling! The dwarf got even by knocking the monk unconscous, only to have the monk come back and kill the dwarf on his next turn.

I do hope some more players show up. Maybe we can pick up some players from game day...
I played at the Source in Minneapolis, MN.  We had three DMs and 19 players!  It was really fun.  It was my first time in any sort of organized play, and thought it did just what WotC wanted.  To get new players out and playing in the community.

Most of the players picked builds out of PH3.  We had six balanced players and took care of the encounter easily.

Gathered my renown and reward card, and waiting for more.

Excited for next week!
I was a 1 of 5 players at Yottaquest (voted America's Favorite Game Store!) in Cincinnati.  We had a Runepriest (me), Ardent, Psion, Ranger, and a fighter.  Had a good time.  The othe rplayers liked it when, as the bridge was blocked, I jumped off it to the ladder nearby and climbed up to flank our opponents.

The twitter effects were interesting.  I missed out on earnign my first card bcause the Runepriest isn't in the CB yet... booo! 
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
So tonight was my first ever D&D game in person.  I've played online a bit, and have obsessed over the character builder and compendium for more hours than I'd like to admit. 

The experience was a mixed one, but mostly pleasant.  A total of 8 players and the GM were there, so we split up into two groups.  The other group completely wiped on the encounter (TPK), but our group barely squeeked by.  Am interested in hearing what the lady has to say, now that we've gone through all that trouble to save her.

I created an assortment of toons in the character builder to play with before I went, just to make sure I could fit any role.  This ended up being pretty handy, as most came as strikers.  I ended up playing a Half-Orc fighter with this mini:
  Half_Orc_Paladin.jpg

It was a lot of fun to play in person with the fast pace and the instant gratification.   My build ended up being pretty darn effective, and the Fighter is very intuitive to play.  

The bad things:  

1)  The DM (and many other players who have played together for years) are under the impression that to "Push" needs to be in a straight line.  The rulebook seems to clearly confirm that each square you push just needs to make the target go further away from you.  I didn't make a stink about it at the table (we had a bit of a time crunch, and I didn't want to go hunting through the book), but as the shield build for a fighter has a strong focus on pushing, I'd really like to get that rule corrected.  It becomes crucial for the "Shield Push" feat that I am taking next level, which under the correct reading will usually negate the attack entirely when I push in the correct direction.

2)  The DM also seemed to think the Halfling Slinger has an  AC of 22.  At level 1, a 22 would be extraordinarily high, and certainly not something you'd find on an artillery mob  (The highest AC of any mob I can find, an elite soldier, at level two, is only 20).  I looked it up, and he has 22 hit points, and an AC of 15.  Being a DM is tough, but I raised my skepticism and he confirmed to me it was a 22.  Not worth bringing up now, since the encounter is over.  I ended up with a 21 attack on a charge, and to be told I missed the little squirt was kind of shocking.

Like I said though, the experience was very good overall, just a few things I wanted to gripe about here.

The highlight of the night was that halfling slinger above tearing our healer apart.  Each turn the halfling targeted our warforged artificer, and sure enough, he hit him every single time.  (I was too busy on the front line to go distract the slinger).  The image of tiny thrown stones devastating a dude made out of metal was pretty amusing to us at the table.

I also fell prone twice trying to cross that darn bridge.  Two of our party stealthed out to follow the lady, so they were in the action for three whole rounds before I could get my heavily armored butt over there to help.


 I just got back from DMing the event.  We had 16 players and ended up with three tables.  I think it went very well.  My group had no problem with the encounter (table of 5 - encounter unmodified).  It was 4 ranged characters and a melee leader.  The dwarf was at 1 hp before he even got to act.  All in all it was a good time by all.  About 1/4 of the players had never played 4ed before.  Everyone seems to be looking forward to the next session.  I did go a little overboard on my map.  I used the 3D from the new tile set to build out the inn and make the drop something worth looking at

 
We had a great time of it.  Our party was a bunch of bruisers, having an artificer as leader, psion as a controller, a monk and barbarian as strikers, a warden and a fighter as defenders.  Our DM said, "Hey, nobody has diplomacy???"  The minotaur looked at the two goliaths.  The goliaths looked at the shardmind.  The shardmind looked at the razorclaw shifter.  The shifter looked at the Githzerai.  We all shook our heads.  Luckily, our artificer warned Fayne off the ne'er do wells, with loud shouted comments including "brigands", "buffoons", and "footpads".
When we exited the tavern, a tipsy bard who was leaving with his nights busking profits was being mugged by several "upstanding" individuals.  Hijinks ensued involving a monk failing to jump from one side of the alley onto the sewer outflow pipe, a barbarian taking a header off the bridge, and the warden sprawling across the bridge.  It all turned out for the best though, as deadeye crossbow shots from the artificer peppered the dwarf with bolts, the monk boiled up out of the sewer with a mighty 32 point "Opening the gate of battle", and our barbarian surged up beside him to obliterate their backfield.  Fist pumps and finger pistols ensued.  Though several of our players had issues with understanding their new classes (psion and monk), it was a great time.  Definitely the hardest hitting enemy is the bridge though.
I was a DM at Game Kastle in Santa Clara, CA.  I was fully prepared, and pulled no punches, but I had a group of five very experienced and one semi-experienced player, and they just wiped the floor with the bad guys.  It didn't help that I couldn't seem to roll a recharge to save my life!

The adventure was received quite well, and people seemed pleasantly surprised that it was as short as it was.  They also didn't expect to only be a single combat, but that's probably just because they're used to LFR adventures.

The story was quite clichéd, but there's nothing wrong with that.  It made it easy to RP the "damsel in distress" and the conniving bandit types watching from the corner.

At one point, one of my players tried to stand up and join the conversation at the other table, so I dissuaded him by saying the other "adventurers" shot him evil looks and started whispering among themselves.

I'm actually going to run this adventure again on Friday, and I see a couple areas where I can improve the experience.  I expect to have newer players then, too, so that will make a big difference as well.

Thanks, Wizards!  We all had a great time!

Unfortunately the one I was in didn't go very well. We started an hour late because people were busy copying the pregens to paper sheets, so we already didn't have much time when our nine-person group started. I think three of us had played 4E before. Only two knew anything about FR, neither of which was the DM, and the DM was doing it for the first time. We weren't able to get any RPing in, and didn't even make it through the second round of the encounter, because everyone managed to pick the complicated pregens and everyone needed the rules re-explained frequently, and the store closes early(9pm), d'oh.


Someone was looking through the Player's Handbook for a deity and I wanted to facepalm. I should bring a list of the FR gods and a brief rundown to the next session since nobody owns the FR books. (Including me, since I don't bother buying splatbooks.)


I still had fun, though, but I am dearly hoping that either a good third of the players drop, or that it stays the same and we acquire a second DM. I'd try it myself, but in nine people I'm the only leader. (We have six strikers. SIX. One each of Controller, Defender and Leader. Two Rangers, an Assassin, a Warlock, and two Monks; a Psion, a Paladin and a Cleric. You'd think we'd kill things within a round, but almost nobody knows how to use their striker features...)


Although it was a sterling reminder of why I don't play in the one group that meets at the store I do my regular game at, which has... Nine players. D&D, I don't care what edition, breaks with that many, if only because you literally die of boredom between turns in combat, and there just isn't *time* for people to RP with that many.


The flavor text the DM reads is great, though, but considering the author I was kind of expecting that. ;)


Here's hoping things go better next week.

It's spelled Corellon Larethian, not Correlon, Correllon, Correlllon, Corellion, Correlian or any other way of getting it wrong. I'm a total grognard and I still play 4E.

Unfortunately the one I was in didn't go very well. We started an hour late because people were busy copying the pregens to paper sheets, so we already didn't have much time when our nine-person group started



I thought this adventure was balanced around 4-6 chars?  9 players in one game seems to be asking for some trouble.

Yes it does seem to be asking for trouble, and indeed it is. Like I said, we didn't even remotely come close to finishing. Didn't make it through the second round; I rolled dead last for initiative(5, whee), so I only actually got to go once. We likely would have steamrolled the thing if:


A. Anyone knew what the hells they were doing.
B. Nine people + monsters didn't take forever to get through even if everyone did.
C. We hadn't started actually playing at 8pm when the store closed at 9pm, derp. <_>; We were supposed to start at 7, but getting people set up took a while.

It's spelled Corellon Larethian, not Correlon, Correllon, Correlllon, Corellion, Correlian or any other way of getting it wrong. I'm a total grognard and I still play 4E.
It went well at our game. One sign-up was absent, and we ended up with 7 players + DM at one table and 5 players + DM (me) at the other.

The PCs at my table consisted of three humans (an illusionist wizard, a valorous bard, and a battlemind), one gnome (a psion), and one half-elf (a hybrid paladin/warlock).

Inside the tavern, the PCs called out the muggers; Fayne "realized" what was happening and the muggers stormed outside. The PCs then agreed to the job rather readily but one of them wanted to sign a contract (because he's still trying to prove his worth to his wizarding college and this would be proof!), which provided the opportunity for the battle to occur in the streets on the way back, with Fayne entirely absent.

The battlemind held the dwarf at the end of the bridge while the paladin tried to rush and ended up in the canal, which took him a couple of rounds to escape from. The dwarf and bandits were largely held up by the two of them and the bard, while the psion and wizard traded fire with the tiefling and halfling. The PCs were generally in control of the situation throughout, with only one close call: the psion, already damaged, took a hit-and-crit from the tiefling and slinger at the same time and, being already damaged, went down - only the temporary hit points she'd gained from bloodying the halfling just before (Virtue of Valor) saved her since she'd have been at negative bloodied without that.

She was soon brought back up, the tiefling and halfling finished off, and then the paladin and battlemind surged over the dwarf and rogues as the other three PCs provided long-ranged fire; none of the remaining enemies lasted long at that point.

Some of the PCs were having bad rolls, but apart from the one hit-and-crit combo, so was I. The dwarf missed with his shield bash every time, the bandits couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, and the kicker was that the slinger recharged his triple shot every round but only hit with one of those shots each time! The tiefling was the only one having a good time of it.

It's down the well next week, with the PCs only slightly the worse for wear - only one used an AP, and the psion was the only one who spent more than a single surge. (That could be a problem for her later though - she doesn't have very many surges so another beating could be career-ending.)
Unfortunately the one I was in didn't go very well. We started an hour late because people were busy copying the pregens to paper sheets, so we already didn't have much time when our nine-person group started.



I have to say there are a couple things in your post in the "just don't try it" category.  Nine players is too many (only even possible for a casual campaign with no time limits).  Allowing character creation work after the planned start time - recipe for failure.  I had one player show up at the last minute with an incomplete character and I explained that we simply could not take the time to finish it (we worked on the character after the adventure for next week) and the player chose a pre-gen. The last thing is cracking the books once you start playing - often better to just keep playing even if minor rules are wrong (only look up an absolutely critical point people don't agree on - otherwise not worth the time investment).

So new DM - too many players - I would definitely suggest you ask your organizer if they are planning to make adjustments in the way of a planned back up DM.  Everyone will have more fun, plus if you are the best choice to be the backup DM why not do it?  Just because you are the only Leader is no reason to let a less than ideal situation to repeat.  Maybe one of the other players will understand the need for a Leader and play your character or use another?

Everyone could have much more fun.  Plus you will benefit from everything learned the first week - just be sure to act on it - it can only get better...

*moved from independant thread*
OMFG...really?

The title says it all...I'm not typically one to be pessimistic, but seriously OMFG! The setup to Encounter #1 of D&D:Encounters was right out of a bad movie with everyone in the crowd screaming at the dumb blonde with cheezy scary music in the background, "Hey lady you shouldn't go in there!". This was not quite as dumb as me being prohibited from borrowing one of the many everburing torches illuminating the cliche "mysterious entrway to Undermountain" (I don't like being prohibited from doing something because the adventure designers simply didn't think of it).



As a DM, let me try to clarify this as spoiler-free as I can.

Even if the group got up, and tried to warn her.  She's a very. . . adamant. . . individual.  She'd have still gone into that alley, even had you told her about your suspicions.  While the "box text" doesn't provide the PCs the opportunity to stop her, I'd have allowed my party to try and warn her on the way out.

As it was my group had enough players experienced in the ways of the RPGA, that they could see a "railroad" coming, and they let events play out as the adventure intended. 

Please trust me when I tell you there ARE reasons it happened that way, above and beyond "The designers didn't think of that".  They thought of it, and there was a "plan B" option just in case.  

Your GM would have needed some flexibility and the comfort to step partly away from the provided text to really make it work, but the options are/were there for someone with the right mindset. 
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

I DMed for 3 players at Underhill Games in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. We had 2 made characters and 1 pregen (Monk) going against the scaled for 4 badies.



Wow, I never realized you were so close.  I've never been to Underhill, but I often see it listed as its (effectively) the only game store on the East Side of Cleveland.  

Checking in from the West Side here (Recess Games).  Glad you guys had fun!

WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

I got to my local store at a little before 6pm. There was one group already started of 4 people (mostly new people from what I gathered as we could overhear the DM explaining the basics to them from time to time) and another table getting started- just 2 people and the DM.

So with me (3), we decided to start using the pre-gens as NPC meat-shields. I mean companions:

One player had a senile Shielding Cleric and the faceless Paladin pregen. Since he had no face, he determined he has no personality. So the quote on his sheet was the only thing he said- in different intonations to express happy or sad.

The other player had a barbarian named Tuundar (yeah we razzed him a bit) and chose the Ranger. Even though he was a Beastmaster Ranger, he used nothing but ranged basic attacks (and still managed to do the most damage).

My character, a half-crazed, half-insane, Half-elf Ardent was paired with the Dark pact Warlock. I determined that he was a poetry-writing, self-cutting emo. His LiveJournal username is Darkdoom_Gloomraven.

EDIT: I forgot to add some of my favorite quotes from the game!!

"Should we kill her and take her gold? Wait, (to the DM) would you say she has an exclamation point over her head?"
"Yes."
"Okay. We get the quest THEN kill her."

"Should we kill her and take her gold? Wait, (to the DM) would you say she has an exclamation point over her head?"
"Yes."
"Okay. We get the quest THEN kill her."



That really shows the mentallity of the PC's. This should be interesting to see how this turns out when they find out she is evil.
James Playing D&D since the Red Box of '83.
I played at the Source in Minneapolis, MN.  We had three DMs and 19 players!  It was really fun.  It was my first time in any sort of organized play, and thought it did just what WotC wanted.  To get new players out and playing in the community.

Most of the players picked builds out of PH3.  We had six balanced players and took care of the encounter easily.

Gathered my renown and reward card, and waiting for more.

Excited for next week!



I DMed at one of the tables at Source last night.  We got started a little late getting everyone registered with DCI, etc. and we also did a little random shuffling of players to tables, making sure that there was at least one of each role at each table.  Kind of like an ice cream social but instead of ice cream, you get XP    Each table had six players.  I was pleasantly surprised to see two ~10 year olds, brother and sister, and their father at my table!

The dwarves (one extra because of six players) had a good time knocking players off into the water and our Monk pulled a cool move, leaping completely across the water into the midst of the bandits.  Our Runepriest took advantage of being knocked into the water to ask "Does that put out my ongoing fire damage?"  Having not thought of that I said "Sure, make a saving throw with a huge bonus."  Very good thinking on his part.

I like what some people did with elevating the terrain with wooden blocks.  I even HAD some of those with me and I never thought to do that.  It would have made things much easier what with everyone plunging headlong into the ditch.

One thing I did was to give everyone who played a little business card with my contact info, and a link to a Google Group so they can post questions or view summaries and info.  I posted a session summary there and XP and treasure totals and also did a little explaining of the renown point system.  Unfortunately nobody at our table got their Delver card but the two kids both got the closest with 9 points each!  Good job, young ones ...

So yeah, it was a successful evening and I'm looking forward to next time, for sure.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

First off, A super huge thanks to Graham to putting everything together and Bob and Brandon at Dragon's Lair West in Omaha, Nebraska for giving us a great (if not wee bit cramped) place to game. Still could be better with a $2,500 Home Depot gift card though!

Dragon's Lair West - Omaha,  Nebraska


We had a major blast! It was almost TOO successful as about 20 people showed up to get their encounter on! We ended up having to run two games at the same time, and then a third for people that couldn't fit at the tables!

Organized Chaos!


At table two, Jonathan stepped in as a makeshift DM, who did awesome with zero prep - a testimate to the easy to understand encounter writeup.

Jonathan - Friendly Banker -  Makeshift DM


It was me and my friend Adam's first real DnD experience and it couldn't have gone better. We had at least 3 players who regularly DM weekly games who were super cool about explaining everything as it came up. Everyone was really supportive and nobody was talking down to us as new players, which was a fear I had going into it. I'm really glad we had such a great group of gamers to help us through it.

Characters Mingle in the Green  Room before the show


My friend Adam used a quick character Half-Elf Avenger from the character generator, as did I a Human Ardent. The only quirky thing was each of the quick characters had a power that didn't belong to that class, that we didn't notice until we were in the thick of battle.

Adam's Full House


I had used a quick Human Ardent from the Character Creator and was ready to unleash my emotional psionic energy on the dank streets of Waterdeep (or, at least, I think we were at Waterdeep...).

Usual weekly DM, Dennis, cracked open his PBH and rolled up an Eladrin Sorcerer in a blink of an eye. I can't imagine how refreshing it must have been to be on the other side of the screen.

Eldaran Sorcerer Warms Up


Cooper nabbed a Warlock pregen and was ready to roll.

Tony had his Human Wizard Character Sheet printed on parchment paper, which made me want to run out and purchase a pack of parchment. (Take 5 points of alliteration damage!)

Finally, Mike also had an Ardent created with the Character Builder, it was almost like looking in a Mirror. 

Two Tables - Mike Watches -  Jonathan Preps


The back room was just as noisy and cramped as the Tavern we were in when we ordered a drink for the musical laughing lady at the bar. She was a tough nut to crack as we overheard her conversation with the shady looking duo she was talking to.

After she left through the back door, we almost didn't go after her - but, slowly, one by one, we downed our ale and decided that gold is gold, and we wanted some.

We went outside... and all hell broke loose.

It was a great fight, although the bridge was a pain, especially with an anchor of a Dwarf standing like a stone wall at one end, with a halfling scattershot pelting three of our group (Where was he getting all these stones? We imagined one huge bulge in his pocket.)

Thick as Thieves... and a Dwarf...


The encounter lasted 4 rounds - no amazing feats of athletics or dexterity to creatively bridge the gap between the 20 foot drop into the murky water below. Although it would have been awesome to see how far we could throw a gnome or Halfling...

As a first time player, it was fun to be able to use the Ardent to deal damage and provide temp hit points and Adam loved to Oath his enemies for a second chance attack.

Long post made short - I can't wait for next week!
Wow - All my favorite online shows in one place - WHO READ MY MIND?! http://fantasywebseries.net
Omaha, Nebraska's coolest FLGS Coliseum Gaming
I blogged about my experience here on the

I too had a great time at the D&D Encounters session last night.  I am new to 4E and have a couple questions:


  1. Each character at our table was awarded 115xp at the conclusion of the session.  This seems REALLY low to me.  So it will take about 9 sessions at 2 hours a pop to get to second level?  I’m not complaining – I just didn’t think progression was so slow and wanted to make sure my DM didn’t mess up awarding experience.

  2. Are you allowed to “loot” the bodies after a battle?  We were each awarded only 12gp at the end of the session.  (We were running out of time and the store was closing so I didn’t make an issue of it.)  Seems like you’d get more gold than that for taking on a fairly powerful group of thugs.

Great session.  Looking forward to next week.

2)  The DM also seemed to think the Halfling Slinger has an  AC of 22.  At level 1, a 22 would be extraordinarily high, and certainly not something you'd find on an artillery mob  (The highest AC of any mob I can find, an elite soldier, at level two, is only 20).  I looked it up, and he has 22 hit points, and an AC of 15.  Being a DM is tough, but I raised my skepticism and he confirmed to me it was a 22.  Not worth bringing up now, since the encounter is



Definitely high ... but it seems like he is mildly dyslexic and confused the HP and AC lines seeing as how those numbers line up.


3)  We all had created our own characters, and the DM had no idea what we'd play, so he didn't really understand the Assassin or Artificer class features.  The players basically had free reign to tell the DM what his character could and could not do, and unless the Assassin class is CRAZY overpowered, the player must have been making some mistaken interpretations.  Added:  We also found out after the night was over that someone brought a level 2 character, when the rules for the night specified that you're supposed to start at level 1.



It would not be out of bounds to ask for a summary of -how- things are working the way they are. Often just reading the effect (they aren't that long) is enough to show how things are being misinterpretted.

It sounds like there's some serious inexperience at the table, both for DM and players. Hopefully it will improve. Don't feel too stressed about it but also feel free to ask questions and make corrections if you think things are going "wrongly".

I too had a great time at the D&D Encounters session last night.  I am new to 4E and have a couple questions:


  1. Each character at our table was awarded 115xp at the conclusion of the session.  This seems REALLY low to me.  So it will take about 9 sessions at 2 hours a pop to get to second level?  I’m not complaining – I just didn’t think progression was so slow and wanted to make sure my DM didn’t mess up awarding experience.


That was the correct amount of XP for this encounter.  Some have a little more, some a little less.  I think you can expect to level somewhere in Chapter Two - roughly 8-9 sessions in, so you're on the right track.

That's also right on-spec with the guidelines in the DMG for leveling.  Players should gain a level (roughly) every 10 encounters.  


  1. Are you allowed to “loot” the bodies after a battle?  We were each awarded only 12gp at the end of the session.  (We were running out of time and the store was closing so I didn’t make an issue of it.)  Seems like you’d get more gold than that for taking on a fairly powerful group of thugs.

Great session.  Looking forward to next week.



(Quote system broke the ordered list, I know that should be question #2, sorry, nothing I can do about it)

The 12GP/player actually comes from looting the NPCs.  In 4E mundane gear (swords, shields, armor) has no resale value.  I suppose if you wanted to snag a couple throwing hammers, or some sling bullets, however, there isn't any real reason to stop you from adding divvying up that gear as you see fit.
 
As a rule of thumb, most groups are going to be equipped enough that they don't care about this mundane gear either - and since it can't be resold to vendors, it isn't worth the weight and potential encumbrance. 

Hope that helps! 
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter


It sounds like there's some serious inexperience at the table, both for DM and players. Hopefully it will improve. Don't feel too stressed about it but also feel free to ask questions and make corrections if you think things are going "wrongly".



To further expound on this - I'm a little rusty as a DM having not done so for perhaps 9 months.

I know I made mistakes last night, I even knew I was making them as I made them - but y'know what?  In the name of fun, I just went with them, as long as they kept everyone smiling.

It beats the heck out of pausing the game to check a rules reference to make sure we're doing it right.  At my table?  Right is "close enough as long as its fun".  

So, the DM won't need to know every power of every character at the table(s) he runs.  But he's well within his rights to say "huh, whaaaaaa?" and ask to see the power(s) being used to make sure he understands it, and that the player understands it as well. 

What's fun is that, with that increased understanding (on BOTH sides of the table) - the game will run faster going forward. 
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

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