D&D Encounter Field Reports (Week 7)

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Use this thread to discuss your experiences with week 7 of D&D Encounters. 

Please realise that both players and DMs read these threads, so do not put spoilers in your posts. If your post goes into enough details, then you absolutely must use spoilers. Enclose the spoilery bit in [*sblock=spoiler stuff][*/sblock]  (just remove the *) spoiler block tags so that players who haven't played yet don't have the surprise ruined for them. 

[*sblock=spoilerey stuff]

blahblahblah

[*/sblock]

will produce

spoilerey stuff


blahblahblah


once you remove the *.
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Well my group is all caught up for Encounters. They had fun tonight. They started to panic when 3 out of 5 were bloodied from the attacks. They then started to figure out that if they use the strikers for what they are for you can get up to 42pts of damage from 1 hit.

spoilerey stuff and details

They saw the runes on the floor and then started to investigatge it all. The assassian went in to scout the room and by the end of the only the runepriest was standing out side. They though that if they all stand on the runes in a different order it would set off some sort of trigger. So the runepriest entered and set off the room.

They sent a lone wolf up to investigate the glowing sphere and it was promptly smacked down by the sphere. They then all rushed up to kill the sphere to save his wolf.

The assassian and ranger both piled on the damage on the sphere. They took as well as they got and the assassian was down to 3 hp. The ranger used his daily and then the ardent told the ranger to irestrike it the women by this time and it just did enough to take her down.

The cracking of the sphere is what caused the majority of the damage to the players ,but the amusing thing is that the Tiefling only took 6 damage on that cracking and autoprovented 5.

In the end they were quite happy that the women didn't get another attack  for their strikers were almost down and the will need the help they get on the next encounters.

James Playing D&D since the Red Box of '83.
I think our DM got the encounter wrong again.  I offered to run him through a 4E stat block, but he declined any help.  Here's a run down.

spoilerey stuff

We engaged in investigation of the mysterious glowing orb.  The DM told us it filled almsot the entire room (The entire 4x4 symbol on the map).  Arcana checks and perception told us little, other than there was a woman crying for help inside.  The only way we could open the 'orb' was to attack it.  The orb took 2 hits for pittance of damage and opened wide.  A firey Eladrin lady then began to attack us.

Then the Poison/Fire aura took hold and started to hurt us.  The Paladin knocked her prone, but none of our forced momement affected her, odd for an Eladrin.  Also odd that she never stood up the entire fight.  Since most of our group was melee we just kept on her and hacked her down.  She occasionally did some sort of firery burst effects that pushed up backwards, but we'd just rush right back up.  I guess 2 square push was kinda a week idea.  I would have given threatening reach or some deal.

She did some sort of firery fey step once to get close to the Paladin who marked her, but other than that she stayed put (on the ground).  Once she was bloodied she stopped her damage aura, making the fight even easier.  Again this was somewhat of a surprise.  A few more smashed from the 5 of us and she was dead without much of a fuss.

I thought I had read about her haveing multiple auras, a nasty minor damage action, and a bunch of multiple attack powers.   All she did was a fairly minor Burst 2 around her.  Odd...

Our party had to spend a total of 5 healing surges.  Very disappointing.



Worse, there was no undescribed "Level 5 magic item" like at the other table.  The lack of appropriate magic is also very frustrating.
Had another good week, 4 tables and 17 people showed up:

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The first slot I ran a table of five, running with a Psion, Paladin, Warlock, Ranger and Artificer. I decided early on that I wasn't going to use the minor power more than once in a turn (edit: did I say combat, that's just wrong ), and that was a good call. This group did well but they struggled with the fight once it started and adding that little bit more damage would have wrecked them completely.

The fight started off fairly straightforward, they figured out that the sphere couldn't move and had reach only to the square before the edge of the room. Most everyone stayed on the stairs but the Ranger and Paladin moved in. The Paladin of course needed to be up close and personal and this resulted in a lot of OAs and some aura damage. Early on the Paladin ended up unconscious from the damage of the Aura.

The rest of the party was able to rally the Paladin and things were going well until they bloodied the creature. When its next turn started it went on the offensive, teleport knocked out the Paladin, the Lash knocked down someone and so did the Lightning minor power (as in unconscious x 3). So suddenly the party is down to 2 plus a wolf beast companion and things are not looking good for the home team. Next round the Ranger goes down, leaving the Warlock and the wolf. The Warlock's turn comes up and she misses but moves down the stairs to gain cover. The Next round the Warlock tries to heal the Artificer and fails. The Ranger rolls a 20 on a death save and wakes up. The Eladrin by this point has killed the dog and the Paladin (Sorry, Aura!) and is turning on the Warlock and the Ranger. The Warlock heals the Artificer, who then heals the Psion. We have 4 party members awake! Psion goes next and right before the Eladrin. Action Point, two attacks, hits with the first power, causing the Eladrin to be vulnerable Psychic and crits on the Augmented 2 Psychic power! Wham! She's very shaky at this point.

Now, at this point, I've already considered giving the Psion the Moment of Greatness but I totally give it to him for what happens next. The Eladrin Action Points on her turn, tries two Lashes on the Psion, I roll ... two 1s! Epic Fail! I finish up with the Lightning Arc and knock the Psion unconscious, he narrates that the Psion collapses and rolls down the stairs, and I grant him his moment of greatness.

The Warlock comes back around and finally gets to attack. She brings her Psychic At-Will to bear and the Eladrin collapses under the weight of the combined assault.

A real nail-biter and even though the Paladin died, everyone seemed to have fun with the tense, truly Epic battle.




This was the start of the encounter I played in. We both used tiles, blocks and the 3D tile set's staircase for terrain. In this encounter we had a warlock, hybrid swordmage/artificer, assassin and hybrid ardent/battlemind. This run went a good deal better for us, though we did all end up bloodied by the end of the fight.

D&D Encounters week 7 at Dragon's Lair in Austin, TX:
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We had 2 tables, 4 PCs at one, 5 at the other. I played on the 4-man table. Fortunately, we were all experienced and had all played for many weeks together. The party consisted of:

Human Orbizard (me)
Human Centered Monk
Warforged ES Warden
Half Orc Grappler Fighter

Obvious lack of a leader or any healing powers. I had 2 healing potions, an AP, a daily, and max HP - what could go wrong?

I see the runes, make a 29 Arcana check, and know its a conjuration/evocation effect. We send the fighter in, he goes step-by-step making perception checks (like I said, we were experienced) to no avail. After 3 round of this, he charges up the stairs. Rest of the party files in, door seals, monster appears.

The monster goes first, slows us all in a flurry of attacks - mind you, we're still all on the stairs! The monk goes 2nd, and deciding he's slowed and at the bottom of the stairs, SPENDS HIS TURN HIDING IN THE CORNER! Thanks dude.

I go 3rd, activate my Wizard's Fury, and start unleashing my steady stream of double Magic Missiles. I also make some 20+ Arcana checks to determine WTF we are fighting.

The warden and fighter are next and they take turns beating on the orb. The orb's aura really screwed us up - the DM didn't scale the monster at all!

By round 2, my stream of magic missile and the 3 melee fighters cracked the magic shell and inside was a chocolaty Eladrin babe! How comes this never happens at Easter?

The warden's attack bloodies her and her triggered bloody powers activate and drop the fighter. On the fighter's turn he rolls a 20 for a death save so he's back alive. But then the eladrin goes and drops him to negative HP again.

I spend my 3rd round moving up the stairs, adjacent to the fighter, pouring a healing potion down his throat to earn the Revive a Comrade or whatever achievement, then leave a 2nd potion on his chest, then move back down the stairs. The Monk hides in the corner and burns 2nd wind then the warden attacks.

The fighter stands and drinks my 2nd potion. The eladrin goes next and drops me to -2 HP. I've already used my 2nd wind, I just gave up 2 healing potions, and I'm 6 squares from the closest ally.  Damn. The fighter rushes down and stabilizes me as a thank you, so I don't die, but I spend the remainder of the battle  unconscious.

The fighter, sick of the aura, is desperate for a ranged attack. I suggest he take my dagger off my belt. He does, and despite his severe penalties, manages to throw it and deal 5 dmg to the eladrin.

The eladrin goes and drops the monk to negative HP. The warden, now in her daily guardian form, attacks and pushes + prone the Eladrin. The fighter then charges and kills her. Yay!

Once all was said and done, 3 of the 4 PCs took 50+ damage! I took 29 points and was at -2 at end of combat. After the short rest, I now have 0 surges remaining and am only at 14 HP (bloodied). Wowzers. That was brutal. But I did get awarded the level 5 magic item so it was all worth it.

Three more tables at Aero Hobbies in Santa Monica. Every table was on the edge of their seats.

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This was the first time I've pulled punches in an encounter, as this was otherwise a guaranteed TPK. Bard, Shaman, Rogue and Seeker. The party had cold dice and the twitter buff at the time was five damage to any PC that didn't move on its turn.

The damage added up: two multiattacks per turn, plus aura damage, plus twitter damage, and the PCs were down to 16 HP (total) on the monsters turn. Rather than attacking, APing and minor action attacking, I just provoked AoOs, which got one PC above 6 HP. Had I attacked, all four PCs would have been at five or below, and died from the aura.


A very nasty fight. The quote of the night came from the bard:

"I'll definitely be writing a song about this one." 
Report from Double Midnight Comics in Manchester, NH.  We had one DM (myself) and 7 players.  We had grown enough to split into two table the past couple of weeks, but tonight we were down both our 2nd DM and a couple of the regular players, so this worked out OK.  Of course, with seven, and by now even the newer players are fairly experienced, I had to adjust the encounter.

Party composition was Cleric, Paladin, Sorceror, Fighter, Rogue, Warlord, and Ranger so a very well balanced party too.  However the one interesting thing is that the Paladin. after a hard fight last week, was down to a single healing surge and had used Lay on Hands for the day.  The player was not one to hold back, so the Paladin was knocked out at one point in tonights fight leaving him with a very small number of HPs and zero surges - no way to gain more until an extended rest.  This may create quite a challenge for next week.

Anyway...
The Battle

To balance this fight out I added a second creature - Lvl 2 Skirmisher. This was a swarm of tiny demonic figures I created myself with some fun powers - like a demonic fire blast and a melee attack which healed the swarm for half the damage dealt (energized by spilling blood).  Those little guys appeared in the antechamber with the sigils and occupied all the strikers for the early portion of the fight.

Meanwhile the defenders and the warlord focused on the orb and took quite a lot of damage in the process.  After three rounds the demons were defeated and everyone turned their attention to helping the fighters who were clearly overwhelmed.  Only then was enough damage dealt to bloody and open up the orb.  I enjoyed the development of this encounter by revealing a little round by round - that someone was in the orb - was controlling it - was screaming in agony.  This made the battle much more interesting as players pondered what exactly was going on.  Then everyone was surprised when it split open and the eladrin emerged, pleading for help, but meaner than ever.

The Burning Fey Step followed by the burst 3 fire blast was very effective and two (three?) characters fell unconcious before the concentrated fire of the ranger and rogue finally brought the eladrin down to killing blow range.

Then we were short on time so had to wrap up after I described the final scene.  A couple of characters heard the whisper so they should finally put that piece together. 


Overall - another fun session!
Both parties survived this week's encounter, despite my fears to the contrary.  In fact, both made it through without too much trouble - of course, that is coming from my point of view, some of the characters might have felt differently.

I just noticed that the Minotaur racial ability "Ferocity" is an immediate interrupt, which means it doesn't work on the Minotaur's turn (ie aura damage, ongoing damage, provoked opportunity attacks) and it also can be "blocked" if the Minotaur used an immediate, like Combat Challenge.  The Minotaur Fighter in my Encounters group is going to be sad, since this ability came in crucially for their party.

Group 1 consisted of a Shifter Runepriest, a pacifist Dwarf Cleric, a Minotaur Fighter, a Dragonborn Sorcerer, a Human Swordmage, and the pregenerated beastmaster Ranger.
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The Minotaur entered this encounter with only one healing surge left, so I was curious how that was going to work, especially with another encounter after this one, I expected her to hang back and maybe throw things, but instead she did her usual and charged.  Lucky for her I forgot about the threatening reach for that first attack, but the charge still put her in the aura...
more to come later, I hope


Group 2 was a Genasi Swordmage, a Wilden Shaman, a Tiefling Psion, a Warlock, and a Goliath Barbarian.
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This group was hesitant to enter the room en mass, so the Barbarian started walking up the stairs in near total darkness before everyone entered.  When the Orb appeared, the first two hits against it were critical hits.
more to come later, I hope
What makes me sad - no more compiled magazines: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/27580349/Dungeon_and_Dragon_Magazine_PDFs&post_num=24#495423645

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Sometimes after the big combat several conversations start up and it's easy to miss the "wrapping up" explanation from the DM.  Can someone summarize how the lady in the orb ("kill me, save me") fits into the story to make sure I've got it straight? 

Sometimes after the big combat several conversations start up and it's easy to miss the "wrapping up" explanation from the DM.  Can someone summarize how the lady in the orb ("kill me, save me") fits into the story to make sure I've got it straight? 




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I think the Eladrin girl in the orb was supposed to be Maerlyn, Halaster's apprentice.


Sometimes after the big combat several conversations start up and it's easy to miss the "wrapping up" explanation from the DM.  Can someone summarize how the lady in the orb ("kill me, save me") fits into the story to make sure I've got it straight? 




I think the Eladrin girl in the orb was supposed to be Maerlyn, Halaster's apprentice.



[spoiler]
Maerlyn is the female ghost. The Eladrin in the orb is the "experiment" described in the journal entry from 2-2 and (former) friend of Maerlyn.
[spoiler]
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Three tables again at Hobby Town in Lincoln, NE, although our table was shorthanded (4 players) due to the mix of how people came in groups. Cleric, Bard, Wizard and Rogue was the character spread. DM toned the monster down a bit to allow for the smaller party (eliminated the standard aura), but we were one fudged roll from a TPK.

The combination of the monster's ranged attacks, and the devastating minor actions had everyone in the party running low on hit points from the beginning, and after the bard/cleric healing and second winds ran out, the monster was still going strong. Wizard, down, dead. Rogue, down, dead. Cleric, down, and unconscious, and the bard with 3 hit points left, no action point, and already blown through (and missed) with the daily power.

Brutal fight, and even if we'd had a fifth character in the group, I think we would have been overmatched against this beast of a monster.

We've got a fairly kind DM, who is most definitely not trying to wipe out the party, but so far in the season (with 4-6 players per encounter, and usually a fairly balanced party), we have had 4 character deaths, zero fights that ended up without someone unconscious, and except for the first kick-off encounter, every single fight has resulted in at least 2 action points and 2 dailies getting used, at least 2 characters unconscious or dying, we've gone through all of the healing potions obtained as loot, and in two fights there have been only 1-2 characters left standing at the end, both of whom were bloodied or single digit hit points.

In summary - I've had fun (I've also not been one of the characters that has died), but these fights are brutal, and first level characters with 0-1 magic items (and a max of 3 items within the group as of the end of encounter 7) are just plain overmatched and outclassed.

Watching 4/5 of the party not having the 'right' damage type to be able to do more than half damage - frustrating. Having a solo mob fighting an entire group of characters with 2 action points, three attacks per turn (including bursts that hammer multiple characters) and huge hit point numbers - frustrating.  Seeing the environment tailored to maximize monster strengths and eliminate player tactics (hi, you walk into the room and it seals behind you, week after week - now, fight in this 10x10 square room) - maddening.

Kharybdis, Hobgoblin bard
Spoilers folks!

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No, that was not Maerlyn or the Apprentice. That was the girl in the "hot chamber" mentioned last week. The Eladrin was used to "test" the Apprentice's resistance to the Spellplague.

Spoilers folks!

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No, that was not Maerlyn or the Apprentice. That was the girl in the "hot chamber" mentioned last week. The Eladrin was used to "test" the Apprentice's resistance to the Spellplague.




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Wait, Maerlyn is not the name of the apprentice?  They are two separate people?  Man, now I'm totally confused...  Can someone summarize who is who and what we've seen so far.  Meaning, don't tell us future information, just tell us what the players/characters know at this point.
Ok, seriously, if you can't spoiler tag, I don't think I can answer your question. Also, I didn't say what you think I said ... and I said it vaguely for a reason.
Ok, seriously, if you can't spoiler tag, I don't think I can answer your question. Also, I didn't say what you think I said ... and I said it vaguely for a reason.



I'm sorry.  I didn't think you had to use the spoiler tag now that the event is over.  I thought spoiler tags were only for before the event is run.  Apologies.

I've gone back and added spoiler tags. 
gold_piece, you can go back and edit your old posts. As in the first post, please use spoiler tags for all your specific details, especially plot points.

From my end, I could not participate. Let me stop and praise anyone who is a single parent and working. Whew. My wife had to take care of her dad for ten days and I have been Mr. Mom and Mr. Breadwinner all at the same time... it's a rough encounter too many levels above me!

I did hear that my table did very well. It sounds as if they used some sound tactics and generally avoided taking too much damage. Nicely done, team! Bryan mentioned the other tables did well also, which is great news.

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Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

gold_piece,

This thread is also for reporting play results, your questions is more appropriate in a seperate thread with Spoilers listed in the title. Using the sblock is key because we have folks that are still going to play these events all the way up to Monday.

I will be reporting results as soon as my judges file their reports with me.

We ran 4 tables with 18 players. We seem to be stuck at that number but I am sure we will crest over that amount in the next couple of weeks.

Thanks,

Bryan Blumklotz
Guardians of the Gameday Organizer.
I've added some sblocks to a few posts.  

No harm, no foul.   
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

Week 7 in Yakima, WA

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Had only 4 people at the table this week: Warlord, Fighter, Sorcerer, and Fighter/Cleric hybrid.

Party ran up the stairs to see what was in the room and that's pretty much where everything went south.

The Orb critted on the ftr/clr and drew him in closer (as with the twitter update), then got another attack on him. When his turn came up, he took the damage from the aura and was unconscious.

The rest of the heroes fared about the same. The warlord stayed away from the orb, trying to avoid taking hits, while the fighter waded in with his spiked chain. The sorcerer circled around just in time for the orb to crack.

After the eladrin was bloodied it went very badly. Her first burning fey step hit everyone but the sorcerer and placed her adjacent to the ftr/clr (who was brought up by the warlord, only to go down again) and the warlord.

A few rounds later, the ftr/clr was dead, and the warlord was at 2 failed death saves. The fighter then went down, as did the sorcerer.

The sorcerer rolled a nat20 and got back up, but the fighter and warlord failed their final death saves. In the following round, the sorcerer was hit again, dropping him to -4, then -11 (on his turn, in the aura) and he failed a death save. She ignored him as she turned to find a way out of the room, but it was moot.


The players had a blast, and were excited to come back next week, hopeful for a rematch against her.
Down to 6 from 8 last week, It seemed to go a little bit smoother with a normal sized group.  We had Ranger, Barbarian, Swordmage, Rogue and premade Cleric & Paladin.  No deaths and no unconscious even and I scaled the challenge for 6.  I was quite surprised.  

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There was no description of how the door opened, although there was indication that it slid open (or at least the last one did), so I made it  slide into the ceiling.  It took awhile for the PCs all to enter, everyone was being quite cautious after the last couple encounters.

The party was checking for traps.  The module says it wasn't a trap so I told them that, but I'm sure everyone else would agree it is a trap.  They first started thowing/placing debris on to the runes but that had no effect.  I had the runes change individually from red to blue when someone was standing on them.  The ranger took a broken piece of the coat rack to probe the darkness.   

The PCs started lying down and touching two squares at a time - I made them turn purple when two were touched (half and half) eventually describing them as flickering from red to blue.  After they were all purple the rogue came in and straddled two that were already purple and they turned blue, with the rest flickering toward blue more often.  It was about then the jokes about playing twister started.  Finally the cleric, last of the PCs came in and straddled a couple more runes and the 'not a trap' went off trapping them.

I rolled poor for initiative for the sphere, so the whole party got to go first and get some licks in.  No one was quite sure why they were attacking, but followed the paladin.  They were all doing some good damage, 2nd round I think it was the barbarian got a crit with his axe on a daily power and did 44 damage breaking the sphere.  There were some jokes about the dragonborn barbarian hatching his egg and being a mommy as they discovered the eladrin within.

The next round everyone was taking some serious damage from the explosive teleport and aura, and getting blown away and knocked down as they tried to approach.  Everyone was whipping out dailies and action points, but there were nothing but misses the whole round.  Most of the party was bloodied and near going unconscious after she attacked again, but they were able to pull out some good rolls the next round and the cleric with initiative just before her did the last hit points to take her out and only by 1 point.  

I'd had her mostly attacking at random as I figured she didn't really want to hurt people and wasn't really in control.  If I'd had her attacking with much tactics it could have gone much worse.  As it was it was a tough fight, but quite fun.  I also followed the suggestion of only using her minor 1ce per round, if I'd used it 3 times a round or two with the push power it would have been really bad.

The PCs really wanted an extended rest after this having blown all their dailies, but I springed the shadow on them when they did draining  a hp from everyone and they got the hint.



 
Just to clarify in case people are confused as to who is who.

Seriously, do not read this unless you're a DM or have gone through *at least* encounter 8.

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Maerlyn is Halaster's Lost Apprentice. The female ghost is her--or at least an echo of her.

The eladrin in the orb in encounter 7 is a test subject Halaster captured and altered so as to serve as a test case for artificially constructed Spellplague energies. The actual Spellplague hadn't happened yet, so what the PCs encounter isn't true spellplague, just a construct.
Does that clear everything up for people?

Cheers
TPK for my group. Those auras were killer. So far we've only complete 3 of the 7 encounters, 2 of which were because the DM was nice. If this is how all the Encounter season are going to be, I probably wont play in them again, its just not fun. Maybe we'll have better luck now that we all have to make new characters.
You dont have to make new characters unless you choose to do so. But it sounds like you need to work on the party composition though.  Perhaps a little more information about what your party has and where you had problems in the other failed sessions is in order.
you dont have to make new characters.  sounds like you need to work on the party composition though.  perhaps a better composition will serve you all better.



We all died due to the auras, DM couldn't come up with a good reason why we would have survived like he did with 4 of the encounters.

We had a pretty good mix: Swordmage, Barbarian, Cleric, Wizard, Druid and Monk. We did lack ranged attacks, and one guy needs a little help playing, but its a balanced group. Its kinda hard to stay alive when you walk into a fight already down to 3 healing surges and hit for 5 point of damage or more a turn. These encounters just seem liked they're as powerful as could possible be and still called level 1 encounters. If you told me at the beginning you were going to try to kill me in every encounter I wouldn't complain, but I thought this was just supposed to be fun.
you dont have to make new characters.  sounds like you need to work on the party composition though.  perhaps a better composition will serve you all better.



We all died due to the auras, DM couldn't come up with a good reason why we would have survived like he did with 4 of the encounters.

We had a pretty good mix: Swordmage, Barbarian, Cleric, Wizard, Druid and Monk. We did lack ranged attacks, and one guy needs a little help playing, but its a balanced group. Its kinda hard to stay alive when you walk into a fight already down to 3 healing surges and hit for 5 point of damage or more a turn. These encounters just seem liked they're as powerful as could possible be and still called level 1 encounters. If you told me at the beginning you were going to try to kill me in every encounter I wouldn't complain, but I thought this was just supposed to be fun.



You have no true lock down defender.  The Swordmage is very poor at defender duties.  The wizard and the druid should have covered range for you. And 5 per round at the beginning of the players turn is not all that bad. You party should have been able to lay down some serious damage. Did no one have a daily left?  And everyone popping encounters would do some damage for sure.

Our party consists of a Bard, a Fighter, 2 Monks, a Paladin and a Hurl and Slash Ranger.  We did have the Ranger and 1 Monk die in the Encounter but we survived and that was even with the monster leveled up 1 level.
I think part of that was adding a new players at the end of the second round. I upped the monster, but he hadn't been contributing to the damage for two round. If he wouldn't have shown up the monster would have been dead the next round.

 
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