D&D Encounters Field Reports (Week 3)

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Use this thread to discuss your experiences with week 3 of D&D  Encounters Dark Sun. 

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

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will produce

spoilerey stuff


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once you remove the *.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
[Sblock=Food Fight, to the Death!]

“The desert winds still blow hot even as the burning sun continues its all to slow desent.  The smell of rotting kank meat fades behind you as you leave scene of your most recent battle.  Ahead of you is a particularly flat stretch of desert.  At first you feel this is a blessing, but soon you find your eyes play tricks on you as mirage after mirage threaten your sense of direction, hide the foes who pursue you, and offer no respite from the sun’s relentless rays”


And so the skill challenge began again along side the obstacle of “Mirages”!  The party didn’t fair so well against the mirages with all but one of them failing.  This weeks party was: Phye, Shikirr, Castri, and Kindrok (1/2 Giant Fighter).  The skill challenge saw three more successes, but one failure.  This puts them on track for success unless something drastic happens.


The party was all to happy when their Nature check brought them in contact with a “small grove of cacti that have just bloomed with numerous small wax coated, but very juicy fruits!  As the party began to take their fill and discuss the ability to harvest the fruit, Phye spotted the Dune people lurking.


“Give us your food!”, shouted one from the top, “We have you surrounded!  Give us all your food and water and you live!”


“Screw that!”, yells Castri’s player. “We’re gonna rob them!, I’m rolling intiative!”


And so they did.  Castri went 1st, and managed a fantastic climb roll.  He had already spotted the sharp brambles on all the rocks and asked if they could be carefully avoided.  I decided, “Sure!  But it will be a tough acrobatics roll to steer clear of the worst parts, in addition to your Athletic check”.  Castri was able to get to the top of the cliff with one move and then opened up on one of the Dune Archers.  After a brutal attack the Archer was left bloodied.


The bloodied archer took an opportunity attack as it soared off its perch to one of its allies rocks.  Castri hit, knocking it down to 2hp.  It landed a good blow on him in return using its mobility damage bonus.  The Curser went next and got a good hit off on Kindrok and Shikiir both, earning their ire. 


“I want to jump up top.  How high is it?”, Shikirr’s player asks.


“Ok… its 4 squares, so about 20’ high.  It’s a heroic jump…”


Shikirr, “No problem!  I’m a Thri-kreen, we’re all about jumping.  I get to jump like I have a running start, even standing still… 20!  Woooohooo!”


So I let Shikiir jump to the top!


While we has some climbing issues, most players we not deterred by the razor sharp vines at all, and climbed right up.  Only one Dune person got exploded by the Curser as the blast was too close to the rest of the Dune people!  The battle was over fairly quick with the Hero’s cleaning up quite nicely.  They never even paused to consider the Dune people’s plea for surrender.  They just happily looted the bodies.  The drake had snatched some supplies, but the party was more than happy with a net gain from the goblins supplies.  They figured they’d divvy up the treasure next week.


Some of them had read on the forums (shame on them!) that this was a tough encounter, and that fighting might not be the option to go with.  They laughed at how easy it ended up being.  Another enjoyable night!  And I had a whole Ankheg and broodling encounter ready to go if they fled or negotiated too! 


[Sblock]

 



Ran 4 full tables again here in Portland, OR. I am going to be very happy when the store expansion is done and we can add a 5th table. Our 2 Monday tables (session 2) were also full this week, a first, and should be full again next week (session 3).

We are definitely going to shift Tuesdays to Wednesdays for Season 3 (store will have space and we can finally use the twitter buffs on our main night).

I DMed a table (Alex was out of town because of work) and it was 3 returning players and 3 new players (full disclosure, one was my gamer grrrrl wife, she was playing Castri).

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The table previously had been pretty beat up from the last encounter however, the players of Jarvix, Castri, and Barcan did not return this week so the "weakest" members were at full power and surges instead of barely hanging on.

Yuka had shattered his obsidian short sword last session but had made an improvised weapon out of a Kank fang/tooth. I ruled that it was an improvised weapon (no proficiency bonus) and no poison.

The party rocked the skill challenge with only one failure so far when Barcan's player decided to make an Athletics check, Shikirr then felt that if the world destroying mage was going to bite on his area of expertise that he would attempt to manipulate the mystical world to mock Barcan and perhaps fix his utter physical failure at climbing some rock formations. It did not go well.

Then it was the group penalty round, which they passed with flying colors.

The party then stumbles upon the fruit tree while fleeing the storm and start gathering them.

Start suprise round. Well only because the Phye's Mantle of Clarity gives everyone a +2 to perception, only Barcan and Yuka get surprised.

Sandfolk (goblins) attack, the Spiretop Drake makes a play for some of their supplies and the first cutter makes a sucide run at the players (I only realise he is out of range of the cursespitters when Castri decapitates him with extreme prejudice). The it was the archers turn, boy did the party not like that.

I threw some curses at them and the party showed why not having a lot of ranged attacks sucks. My attacks after my opening salvo go down hill and I only hit a quater of the time. When my first two goblin cutters don't fair so well I bring in two more in the next two rounds to keep putting pressure on the party. My constant humming "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" when they sucide charge the party brought some levity to the combat.

Things started looking up when Barcan lit the brambles up with Blazing Starfall (I rulled that the zone burned the brambles making it safe for PCs to move there) and the Spiretop Drake fled the scene when it took damage.

Shikirr decided to take his fight to the enemy and started climbing up. Jarvix then hit with a poor man's crit (max damage on the die roll) and killed one of the archers and severly damaged a curse spitter. Shikirr arrival on top led to the other cursespitter being thrown down to the ground where it begged for mercy. Barcan listens to the stars and they tell him that mercy is for the weak.

The remaining archer at 1 hp and the bloodied curespitter run for their lives. Shikirr drops from ongoing poision damage that he could not make the save against.

The PCs victorious capture the magic items, 3 survival days, and more importantly 5 bone shortswords, a shortbow and 37 obsidan tipped arrows and a ritual knife (obsidian dagger). Yuka is pleased to have his main weapon back, plus a spare and Castri can now contribute to ranged damage output with the shortbow.

I allowed Shikirr to field dress some goblins and with the fruit recovered from the tree gained an aditional 2 survival days.

The party takes a rest and then pushes on into the desert.


All in all, I am very pleased with our steady tables, We had 2 tables return with the same 6 players. One table return with 5. Mine had 3 spots available. I had 2 on the waiting list and was able to sit one of them.

The wife enjoyed herself and will be returning to play next week but alas I will not be DMing as Alex will have returned. We also get Teos back. Woot!

Bryan Blumklotz
GotG Coordinator





So, the game went well tonight. I was still running. We had 4 tables in Ottawa so one of the players volunteered to take the 4th table. So I gave him the coles notes of the encounter while  our organizer handled the paperwork for new players.

Spoiler
After rearranging their healing surges after casting Comrade's Succor (please note that I took the liberty to let them completely rearrage the group's healing surge rather than the official transfer healing surges to one target). My group continued to traverse the bad lands. Yuka went forwards with directions from Castri (who needed Jarvix's perceptive help to find their way). Since the Sun was setting, Yuka stayed in front to take the brunt of the heat while providing shade to the others. Barcan used magic to hide their tracks while Phye managed the group to stay within the shade andnot go off course from the navigator.

They got to a piece of thin rock formations. Phye and Jarvix had trouble navigating it but the rest didn't.

They got to the cactus and Phye noticed the ambush. The spiretop drake won initiative and he put a lasso on a bag with 4 survival days of supplies. Some goblin archers managed to hit Barcan. Phye charged the lasso during surprise round and thus cut it. The goblin cutters fell on their buts as they tried to pull the now cut rope. Jarvix successfully asked for a cease in hostilities (29 on diplomacy).

The group managed to negotiate and trade 4 survival days of supplied for the 2 items the goblins had. After the trade, the groups went their seperate ways.

It was a quick session because of no bloodshed. Hostilities ended during the surprise round. Castri's elf bonus and Phye's perception bonus permitted many of the group to act during surprise round.

Four last week, four came back this week. Success. One new person, playing Barcan, who was at the third table last week but the third DM couldn't come. Four of that table didn't come either so derp. So Barcan, Castri, Shikirr, Phye and Jarvix.


My players were geniuses. Full-stop.


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I'd read the threads on intent as negotiation; didn't even have to suggest that fighting may not be the best option, the new-at-my-table suggested it right off after I noted to them that the attackers looked pretty desperate after they pwned the nature check. Negotiations were made. A 30 bluff check scared the hell out of the goblins to the point where they weren't going to argue things or analyze the exact contents of every person's backpack, and they only made off with seven days' worth of supplies - Enough to give them what they needed to make it another day and scavenge more, but leaving the PCs with now just enough between them to deal with the rest of the module. No blood shed. Too bad I'm not running a campaign leading on from this; that would be a great opportunity for recurring semi-helpful NPCs. Since I have the Deserts of Athas dungeon tiles and I use them to sit on foam marshmallows over the spots on the maps where they fit to give a 3D element, I just quickly threw a map together from tiles and had them fight a greedy, more well-fed half-force of goblins - One of each instead of two of each, and without gliding capabilities. Another awesomely succeeded intimidate check scared them enough to give the PCs a surprise round, which they made fabulous use of, and quick work was made of them, including an awesome moment where Castri used his 8 movement and good Athletics check to go directly to the Cursespewer, skirting the silt drifts and the rock the archer was up on, and finally jumping right up beside him and pwning him badly.


It was absolutely hands down one of the best, most fun sessions of D&D I've participated in, and certainly the one that's been the most fun to DM. The dungeon tiles made making a map for the second encounter a complete breeze, some good roleplaying went on, I got to chew the scenery and use my crazed small character voice, and everything went really well. Five more successes came on the skill challenge, and they are up to 8 successes and no failures.


The other table fought the first group, but they didn't have much of anything to negotiate *with* - They TPKed last week against the Kanks, while my guys didn't.



But yeah, good session.

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.
best encounter of the season so far.  alot of fun tonight.

No game this week do to lack of players. I had 7 last week and only 3 showed so I had to cancel for I wasn't able to get anyone else in the store interested in playing.

That kinda sucked for I made alot of props out of foam core  and wooden blocks to represent the giant rock columns to give the field a more 3-D look.
James Playing D&D since the Red Box of '83.
Okay... so here is how things went down tonight.

Session Summary


Group started the encounter by attempting to negotiate with the goblins. Barcan rolled high in the 20s to successfully use his Diplomacy skills.  Things were going well until one of the PCs made an error in saying something that seemed to offend the goblins. (something about attacking another band of creatures similiar to them earlier) The PCs managed to Bluff there way out of that mistake and then tried to come to an arrangement on how to deal with the fruit in the tree. They had come to an agreement to give the goblins their bleached bone tea in exchange for the fruit, but due to a misunderstanding the PCs figured they should just take everything including their supplies, so they attacked.

They managed to take down all but 2 Cursespewers who gave up and fled leaving them the spoils. Our venue only allows for a 1 1/2 hour session, so often times I have to "call it" early and formulate some end result that moves the story forward. Jarvix and Yuka were knocked unconcious but were able to recover after the end of the encounter.

Founding member of the Star Wars Adventure Writers Guild Organizer of the NorCal Star Wars Gaming League Avatar image by artist Steve Criado of Fandom Comics PST (GMT-8) Evening and Weekend Gamer VTT: Fantasy Grounds

I'm glad to say that our adding 3 plant (Spider Cactus) hazards, was a complete success.
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The PCs started to think the encounter was too easy, because they got really lucky with tactics & use of the terrain.  But when they suddenly found Shikirr & Phye immobilized, by plants that they assumed were just view obstructions... well the party quickly learned how important true teamwork is in the harsh deserts of Athas.

Oddly enough, it was actually Barcan who nearly died even though he wasn't a victim of the plants.
Links that I find very useful, will be added here. http://community.wizards.com/vinciente/blog/2010/02/24/useful_damp;d_pageslinks
The store we're at in Bellevue, Wa., has had 3 full tables running consistantly so far, and had that again today. A few new players, many return players.

All three DM's had read up and knew that negotiating was an option and played it well. At my table the players tried well, but two consecutive failed intimidate rolls botched their chances and the goblins jumped in. The gobs rolled lousy inits though, and the players got lucky and wiped the minion bombs in the first round before they could get used. I even roleplayed out how much this pissed off the Cursespewers, having them spew extra curses.

The archers got a few good hits in, and the drake made once swoop attack, but got pretty hurt by a good player hit, and so I opted to have it run off the map..

They fought for a few rounds but the players pretty much had the jump after that. They also got real smart about pooling their move actions and got Castri up on top of the rock with the Cursespewers and he made an epic round by bull rushing one off the edge and then using his action point to use his push attack to knock the other off. Both botched their catch edge saves, and took serious hurt from the fall..

After that I pretty much called it for the gobs, and they surrendered. They limped off with their lives and their two magic items, which the party failed to even notice. I made a judgement call and allowed them to track the escaped drake, who had been carrying a survival day of food and is now, as far as the party thinks, their 'pet'.

All in all, a great day!

Uncle's games two sessions 5pm and 7pm 5pm session had 2 tables of 5 and the 7pm session had 4 tables of 5.

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At both my 5pm and 7pm sessions the players were very willing to negotiate at the 5pm table they started with 22 survival days and the goblins got them to give up 10 total and went there on way. At my 7pm table the players started the enc with only 6 survival days. After some negotiations when the goblins found out how few survival days the party had I roleplayed the disapointed goblin leader explaining dejectedly to the players how this was a sacred compact that the goblins "offered the finest in extortion services and the players obligation was to have something worth extorting." After his diatribe they goblins walked off with there noses held high in the air. I thought it was fairly humorous.

After the "succesful" negotiation I lead an intro into TDN's optional encounter named "These old bones" (see this thread for info community.wizards.com/dungeonsanddragons... ) the 5pm group was just trying to clear the area and the 7pm group was actively trying to ambush the goblins. Both groups arrived upon the scene of the massacre and were suprised at least in part by the bone grinder emerging from the silt pool. A brisk short fight ensued the parties only had to spend a couple of healing surges to defeat the monster. Then they found the loot that the now deceased gobins had been holding. Both tables stated they had fun especially negotiating with the goblins which was a good 45mins of roleplaying.

FYI they figured out the monsters were goblins out of character. I then out of character went on to explain the history of goblins in Dark Suns and how their characters would be perplexed as to what these beings were.

I'm second from the left in the picture.


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Mesa, AZ we ran one strong table (6 players) as a number of players didn't show.  The other DM ended up playing at my table.  Session ran long as I ran it as a soft skill challenge (no official announcement, role playing backed by rolls) and the players were somewhat divided on strategy, making it run long as they walked a tight rope between the two extreme ends of diplomacy.

More details for grins:
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Started it off by modifying the beginning meta-skill challenge into a group roll skill challenge with some role playing.

The scenarios started with a dry river bed, totally foreign to the Athas characters and an ancient bridge, another concept foreign to them to one extent or another.  Beneath the bridge was a troll.  Two of the characters made a history check to determine that it could be a troll and they decided from the fairy tales told as children that maybe they could negotiate.  After some tense moments where the veterans knew if they screwed this up that a troll would eat the entire party's lunch (or perhaps more appropriately eat the party as lunch), they approached.  Ends up the troll was as ancient as the bridge it once guarded, mummified by the harsh desert environment.  Success one, +2 to the next skill roll for good roleplaying.

Second scenario was them headed towards a more mountainous area hoping to lose the storm (and coincidentally towards the final encounter in this chapter).  Broken shale, hard scrabble made of blade sharp rocks posed a physical challenge they were able to get around handily with the stronger more dexterous types helping out those not as gifted (3 of 6 passed their skill checks, helping out the weaker ones).  They chose this path over going through a plain of bramble weed or a large silt lake.

Bramble weed makes its second appearance with large tumbleweed like structures of brambleweed blowing through the last open area before the more rugged badlands.  A quick and nearly unfailable nature check gave them the information (and hint for the full encounter) that the brambleweed lifecycle includes a phase where it dries it and becomes exceedingly brittle allowing the wind to break off strands which tangle with other strands forming tumbling structures that move through the desert.  As they encounter living creatures, the sharp thorns break off chunks of the tumbling weed, often killing the creature where it plants itself using the nourishment of the now dead creature to start a new bramble weed patch.  Or to sum up as one player put it, medieval frogger.  They made acrobatics checks, over half the party succeeded.  Success three.

Since I had a strong party I added an additional level 1 creature.  Since there wasn't a level 1 critter to add, I upped the number of minions which served my purpose to make sure they were quite aware that they were tactically fubared.  Not wanting to force the party's action, I did place the minions in clumps and on the brambleweed and had they examined it closer would have let them know the brambleweed was quite dry and ready to burn and break off.

The spiretop drake got a pack immediately and so began the negotions with the Ardent taking the lead and getting a lot of support from all but two members of the party who quite adamantly declared their food to be their food and if the critters wanted it, they'd have to come pry it out of their cold dead fingers (or pincers as the case may be).

The diplomatic role playing was played out as basically primitive uncontacted tribe contact.  They knew of people from the city, but as suggested in the nature check in the mod, they weren't really into trade, or really any form of contact with those city states.  The cursespewers would not speak directly with the players, relaying all messages in goblin to a cutter who acted as translator even though it was apparent all spoke common.

Negotiations were tense and several times bows were drawn tightly, cutters argued to be the first to be dispatched and the cursespewers primed their primal powers ('the cowled one nearest the edge speaks a word that can't be understood and is ripe with power, his hand turns violet blue and drips little droplets of this dark light') to let the party know they weren't happy with actions being taken.  The party in turn managed to actually intimidate the cutters a bit with displays of martial endurance ('I slash my chest and chant a challenge!').

The party finally got through to their two more hotheaded members, some trades were made (bone finger necklaces for individual survival days, and a nature check revealed the location of a twin plant stand of these cactus/trees with possible ripe fruit) which yielded the psionic necklace.  The group was reluctant to do a full split of their survival days and wanted to get moving before one of the creatures went psycho during some odd point of cultural exchange that they might have messed up so they didn't push for the staff.

All in all a good night.  The skill challenge was technically a 12/3, open ended.  I define open ended skill challenges as no particular dominant or secondary skills.  The players tell me what skills they are using and come up with a bloody good excuse for using them and I assign a DC accordingly.  If it's far fetched, the DC will probably be high and the result will probably only help another skill check later.  If it's obvious, it's a low to medium DC.  If it's role played to any real extent, bonuses are assigned to the roll.  If it's put purely in mechanical terms just to move the challenge ahead I might assign negatives (i.e. 'okay, I'll roll a nature check to see if I can get a success on this challenge').

I'm keeping the gobbies in reserve for a possible future 'help' feature.  If they get in over their heads or perhaps have a weak party in the next couple of encounters, the gobbies might have followed them, perhaps thinking to scavenge their scraps or hoping they'd run in to trouble and they could mop up the survivors.  This will give them a shot to get the staff which they probably should have and gives them a diplomatic get out of jail free card in case the dice decide they are going to hate on them one night.

Sorry for the long report...

We had three tables again in Santa Clara. I only had 2 repeats from the previous week, but knew at least 2 of the other player's weren't going to be there, which left room for the 2 'completely new to gaming' people that showed up.

I only know a couple things of how my wife's table went down
crit, crit, crit, lets talk

After the goblins shot Castri with several well-placed(read: crits) arrows into his spleen, liver, and kidney, and hitting a few other PCs, with minimal casualties inflicted on the goblins, the PCs were open to negotiations...


My table went a little longer
moment of greatness

After successfully navigating the desert and entering a small heltering valley, the PCs came across a fruit bearing cactus. Without really thinking about it, several of the party began picking and eating the fruits. Shortly thereafter, someone thought to see what they knew of this particular species of cactus, and the party was greatly relieved to know they weren't poisonous.

After traveling a little further, the valley acted as a wind tunnel when a savage silt storm came blowing in, which got in almost everyones eyes, causing visibility issues all around, and leaving some silt to hang in the air for some time.

Knowing that to wait it out and sit around would mean the storm would close in on them, they pressed on...right into a waiting ambush set by the True Blood tribe of 'desert people'. Most of the attackers were still hidden on the back edges of the cliff face save for a lone warrior (minion), who threatened the party if they did not leave an offering for his tribe. Noticing that the desert being was hungry, not alone, and in a very strategic position, especially given the silt storm and the brambles all over the cliffs, the party opened with negotiations. The tribe demanded 6 survival days for safe passage. The party struck back offering perhaps to trade instead. After some comprimises (complexity 3 skill challenge), it was eventually reached that the party would leave 2 survival days at the base of the cliff, in exchange for a spear and shrunken head that cackles annoyingly. That was when the party noticed the drake come down, drop off the items, and pick up the survival days. Once the trade was concluded, the party attempted to gather more information from the goblins about what lay ahead, and the safest route to escape the oncoming storm. That was when they learned of the evil, cannabilistic dwarf that occassionally wonders through the area (yeah failed insight checks) between here and the mountains.

After leaving the ambush site, the party pressed on, not wanting to lose more ground to the storm. After about 20 min however, the party realized they were not alone. A splinter cell of True Bloods circled around, not happy with the deal previously struck, thinking their leader as a weak fool, and wanting to come back to the tribe victorious, perhaps for a coup. As most things go, this idea did not survive contact with the PCs.

They were relieved to see no brambles in the site, but were warned by Castri to avoid the large cactus nearby, since it was carnivorous and could shoot spikes and reel the victom towards it mawing roots. After Phye incinerated the lone warrior, leaving only a pair of smoldering, acid-filled boots from her new spear, Shikirr and Yuka split up and went towards different cliffs, neither of which were able to get a hand-hold. This was unfortunate, until Barcan hit the curse spewing tribesman, sliding him off the cliff at Yuka's feat, just as Yuka became invisible to him. Most of the rest of the party decended on this poor tribesman while Shikirr (after finally being able to climb up) and Jarvix went after the flying archers. And the day just got worse for the cursespewer...Yuka, while invisible to him, wrapped the rope of his weapon around the tribesman, and then hurled him overhead to the waiting spider-cactus, who's spiny dart pierced the cursers throat and began digesting him (moment of greatness for Yuka, because it was a fun idea and she pulled it off).

It was a simple mop up job after that.
Overall, this was the most successful session on the part of the party. Only the defenders needed to spend any healing suges, which is good, since most PCs only have 1, maybe 2 left anyway.

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What a fun encounter!  As per the side-bar talking about how the players could potentially negotiate with the goblins, I decided the entire encounter was going to come across as a desperate attempt to steal food.  The goblins were discribed as weak and pathetic with brittle weapons.

I had them speak in giant, just to make it a bit more fun, so Jarvix heard them ordering the minions to go after the supplies and then run away.  The goblins were focusing on the players with the most supply pacs, and I had the players catch on that the goblins were only interested in food.

Adding to that, the goblins became frantic when bloodied, and all but gave-up when hit after being bloodied.  The players then took a more defensive approach and intimidated a number of them into submission (choosing not to kill any of the little buggers). 

Despite that, Shikkir took a lot of damage from thorns and poison, actually amassing the 50+ damage in one session.

When all was said and done, the goblins ran off, cowering, and the heroes helped themselves to a couple extra piles of supplies.  It was a lot of fun and an encounter that came across more fluid and life-like than had I just gone for evil-goblins-kill-everything.  Good encounter design.  Can't wait for next week.
Yuka, Castri, Shikirr, and Phye

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This encounter was only harsh from a couple of the players stand points.  One was Castri, who used up the last of his surges, and the other was Phye who was rather pleased that he'd made it this far only loosing 7 hp (and hadn't spent a surge yet, since he wanted to get the most out of the extra 1d6), but in this encounter he spent a total of 4 surges (counting surge use after the battle).  But Castri is rather pleased, that he now has a short bow, and some arrows.

I tried to set up for negotiation.  With the goblins spending their surprise round to demand the groups fruit (I had given them 2 healing fruits at the beginning of the encounter, since they'd been doing good on the skill challenge, and most of my table hadn't been there for the first encounter so they didn't have any).  Which the group was going to be ok with, until they demanded their supplies as well, which didn't set well with them.  After laying a few good blasts/ranged attacks on them from above, the cursespewers kept telling them to just give up the supplies..  But they wouldn't have it.

Things of Note from our run:

Castri taking a flying leap to try and get the archer that was flying in the middle, but he fell one square short (needed a 20 athletics, but rolled 16), so he didn't quite reach the archer.  Luckily he was trained in acrobatics, and reduced the 20 ft fall to only 5 damage (from 12).

Yuka and Shikirr were able to get 1 square up the cliff in the first round (due to bonus movement from Phye, and using the starting move for Shikirr).  In the second round, both double moved and action pointed... One to use Bull Rush, the other for Bull Strength.  Both characters hit, and both cursespewers failed their saving throw, causing both to topple to the ground (17 damage to the bull rushed one, and 5 to the bull strength one.)  Since I was flying the archer in a pattern (figure 8 over the field), Yuka was able to grab him as he was making the pass over the cliff, and him and Shikirr focused on dropping that.

Castri and Phye worked at finishing off the cursespewers on the ground.  One dropped Phye to unconscious, then grabbed her survival days and started running.  The spiretop drake had grabbed one survival day off of Castri already and taken it to one of the other cliffs and was going in for more, but it ended up fleeing when they dropped one of the cursespewers.

Overall a good encounter, and I plan on having the group use Comrade's Succor at the beginning of next encounter in order to shuffle some surges around.

 

Always a GM, never a player (not really but sometimes feels like it).

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Had two full tables of 5 this week at Illusive Comics and Games in Santa Clara, CA, down a bit from the number last week of 17 total people, Dark Sun is an unforgiving setting for new people...  ;)

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Table one was off and pretty much just felt like wiping the floor with the duners, didn't fare too badly against them with only one dropping to dying, but was quickly saved...

Table two was the more dramatic of the duo, started off with only one person getting into the surprise round and capable of seeing what was going on, rolled to see who which pack would be stolen, and it was our resident monk.  So after that happened one of the Cursespewers decided to press their luck and demand more before they'd let the group pass.  Well, the Thri-kreen decided to be a little more persuasive and bully the duners by just standing there sharpening his two spears.  Jarvix decided to take the more talkative route with a nice mid-20s diplomacy check and telling them that they could have what they took and move on, to which bickering occurred between the two Spewers as to whether or not to take the offer.

They decided that despite having the high ground, the fighter's gnashing of teeth and the thri-kreen's  ability to sharpen two weapons at once that they'd best not push their luck and left.  Well, DM figured "hey, end of encounter, no bloodshed, and the monk's pack and 7 rations gone..." In perfect fashion the Monk figured they wanted to get their stuff back, so we had a successful use of perception to find a general direction, and then a nature to find and follow the tracks of the duners all the way back to their little hole.  Broke out some tiles, added a couple extra minions fitting to the area (trained kank spitter, rat swarm with 10hp for flavor) and the duners...had a 10' raised section, a hole to which the duners drop kanks into to train, and a bit of rough terrain to slow the duners overall movement (since this was a small and enclosed area, and considering the 'grenade' ability of the cursespewers)

That fight was far more dramatic, as the group failed their stealthy approach...the drake noticed them and alerted the rest of the cave dwellers, and then proceeded to swoop in and attack poor Jarvix, he didn't roll too well and missed wildly.  The Thri-kreen decided to live up to it's classification and went all defender-like by pushing the drake into the wall of the cave.  Things were doing pretty well until the Thri-kreen got stuck between both Cursespewers and in range of two other duners, then that's when things started to go awry.  He went into dying twice, failed 2 saves, and finally got drug away by the fighter, but not before getting one Cursespewer down to a single HP.  After the rest of the group dropped the Spewers, the remaining archers decided that it wasn't worth staying, so they took off in a small hole in the back of the cave leaving behind their wares, and of course the Monk's pack.


All-in-all, was a good time for everyone involved.
Treasure Chest Games - Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Good times shown here


We were 2 people short this week and ended up with 7! We had two new people show up so I gave them their choice of the characters from the free RPG day module.The choose Morg and Kindrok! The PC's attempted   to do a bit of negotiation but would not give up any of their supplies. The goblins attacked and the Archers, who lighting up the party won Init followed by the Drake and promptly began stealing supplies. Shikkirr(a) was next moved next to the main mesa. Phye did her encounter power giving most everyone in the party a +4 to attacks, skills and saves which was obviously huge!! The rest of the party had no trouble reaching the tops with the sandpeople but not before 2 of them leapt down and ran in close to as many of the PC's as possible. The first made a spectacular Acrobatics roll and ran up to Barcan provoking him into swinging his staff. The crit caused the sandman's head to become detached causing poison to coat most all of the party!The second one failed his roll and died at the feet of Shikkirr(a) when he asked if he could take an OA as the flailing little guy went past on his way down! Of course I let him and this one spewed poison all over The Thrikreen and Phye! (I should add here that in my group, Castri has been missed by most every attack and BARCAN got missed after crushing the skull with his crit! Also since there were 7 PC's I added one more Archer and 4 more Cutters. I may as well add here that the Thrikreen is NOT played by a girl but we call him Shikkirr(a) anyway!!!)

The party was unsure of how to best deal with the archers and once again spread around a lot of damage before one of the new players asked if he could do a grab like Yuka was doing. I explained that Yuka's attacked were kinda special but he absolutely could grab one. He charged a flying archer and promptly drove it into the ground! A huge roll on acrobatics kept him from taking any damage but the already bloodied Archer went splat! Barcan blasted one and Yuka went for a flying leap himself killing the final one with a jack-knife powerbomb from the top of the cage . . . I mean mesa!

Good times! I am not sure how the second group fared as they were just setting up as we were leaving! If they had half the fun we did, it was a blast for them as well! 

Bouncing In and Out of Nowhere The Watchmen- In the Trees
At Ground Zero Hobby in Omaha, we had an Encounter that went
completely against what we'd had in the previous two:

In the previous two encounters, we'd gone through a TPK and a near-wipe, so we approached this encounter with some trepidation.

First, one of our players who is having some problems dealing with the complexity of the pre-gen characters, was allowed to take one of the pre-gens from the Free RPG Day module.  The GM opened those characters up to everyone, so another new player took Pak'cha the shaman, even though Pak'cha is missing his Daily power on his card.  He figured we could use the extra healing.

Second, the GM allowed, as part of the skill challenge, for us to use Heal skill to regain healing surges previously lost (by brewing bleached bone tea, an idea I got from these forums).  Since I was playing Jarvix from last Encounter and I was down to -one- Healing Surge, the recovery of another was welcome news.

Then we met the strange little humanoids, and Pak'cha correctly identified them as Goblins.  With a sense of wonderment, Jarvix tried to use Diplomacy to gain rapport with the Goblins... and failed.  And then Phye suggested that we try to Intimidate the Goblins.  With an absolutely amazing roll, a small display of Vinara's arcane power (which withered the tree a tiny bit) and some suggestions by Pak'cha that the goblins were few in number, they not need be any fewer, the goblins were cowed into retreating without ever raising a weapon in defense.

The party cheered, and began gathering fruit for our travels.  But then a strange liquid started falling from the sky, and we started asking, 'Just where did those goblins run off to?!?'

So our Encounters session ran all of... five minutes.

Pain Train a comin...


I'm playing as Castri; the group also has 2xPhye, Barcan, Yuka, Shakkir.

We're at the fruit tree, goblins jump us and the archers open fire. One arrow misses me, another hits an ally; 2/3 of the party gets a move action during the surprise round.

Round one archers go first, followed by Castri. Having moved to the bottom of the rock an archer was on during the surprise round, Castri climbs the rock with a move, uses disrupting advance as a standard pushing the mob off the other side of the rock. This is followed by an action point to do throw and stab, jumping 20ft. down onto the mob. Acrobatic check passed and prones with just a little damage. Archer incapacitated. Good game. Recover flint dagger next round with a minor action.

This bit was refreshing as the first encounter Castri spent about half of it incapacitated and ended with only 2 healing surges left. Second encounter was played cautiously and ended was only one healing surge spent; the choice to play cautiously and the position on the init roll definitely affected how well he performed his role.

Third encounter ended with the last healing surge spent (mid fight) and incapacitated. Healed to stabilize to zero and no healing surges! Thank goodness for commrade's succor. It was just good to finally have Castri perform his role well with an opportunity for some balls-to-the-wall action.

The fight went over time even with one of the archers bailing midway through it and the spiretop drake bailing early.

Barcan was kind enough to light up the brambles on top of the largest rock which made it much easier to clear out the last of the gobbos.

Both Phyes were tapped out for heals by the end and the fight ended with 3 people incapacitated. Good times; I hope we make it through the next 2 encounters. :D

Achievements: 06/28/10 - MODERAT0WND!!11 06/30/10 - A Friendly Nod 07/04/10 - Troll Infiltrators 11/16/10 - RIP CB (What you are paying for should work; is it?) 12/20/10 - "No Way! That's Great...*chuckle*...WE'VE RERELEASED GAMMA WORLD!" Scapegoat of the Month for November: Pirates
Ended up running a table of five. I wasn't expecting to, so I hadn't given much thought to how I'd approach things. Also, as a different DM had run that table last week, I wasn't sure where they'd left off in terms of the skill challenge, what they'd done, etc.. Still, it was fun.

The players no doubt found it easy as I barely rolled above a 5.

We had some entertaining jumps between the rocks.

Seanchai
Five players in Charleston WV
Night of the Goblins


I left after this adventure thinking it was terrible. I've since gotten feedback from my players who say they mostly had fun. Huh. Never underestimate my power to fudge, because I did a hell of a lot of winging that they are apparently unaware of.

I feel like I was off my game this time. I made more than my usual quota of mistakes. Wifi at the store was down, so I couldn't access some of the great fluff suggested on these forums. I think I could have been more prepared. There were quite a few things that took me by surprise.

The fruit tree became an Ambrosia tree, found only in the courtyards of the Sorcoror Kings. The fruit takes a creature to maximum hp without the use of a surge. I originally ruled that a second fruit has no effect, but later altered it to say the effect is delayed by one turn for the number of Ambrosia fruits you've had that day. The tree had six fruits. The group has one left.

Castri the ranger died heroically taking down the curse spewers. His friends buried him under the tree. I worked up Dead Castri, the Ambrosia Fruit zombie, just in case I want him to show up later to save the day. Since a player asked if there were seeds in the fruit and I said no, it would help explain how the tree reproduces.

A Goblin Kiter and the Spiretop ran away. I may have them show up begging for food and water during the skill challenge this week. If the players are nice, they may get to use them as henchman/companion/cannon fodder in the battle against the whirl winds.

To explain what an Ambrosia tree was doing way out here, I will most likely use ralo as the source.

It was absolutely refreshing to have the opportunity to talk to something in the game and have it mean something.  More of this, please!  Particularly when half the party is made up of city-dwellin' diplomats.
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We managed to talk our way past the Goblins, giving them the location of the cart and the remains of the kanks behind us as a sign of good faith.  They traded us the obsidian spear and took off.  The GM decided to make it a bit dicey, allowing the siltrunners from encounter one that had been pursuing us to catch up.  The party managed to escape with a few scratches... which is good, given that Barcan is fresh out of healing surges and the rest of the party is running low.
ok, I officially hate the DM running these sessions.

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every session starts out the same: make skill checks to survive the desert, then you get attacked. there is no story and no description of landscape we are trying to travel across. I was not even aware of the mirages or cactus fruits.



Every week when I get the the game, the DM is reading the adventure. Its  blatantly obvious that he hasn't even looked at it until about 20  minutes before the game is supposed to begin.

Once the game does start,  it becomes the DM out to slaughter all the players. thats fine as long  as people can still have a good time, but when the DM laughs and cheers  when he crits (and knocks unconscious) a 7 year old kid trying to learn how to play, it makes it not much fun to play.

this guy doesn't run D&D, he runs a miniature combat game. he makes the monsters do things they wouldn't normally do just to kill players, including moving a monster into a position where he can see PC's it didn't know where there instead of attacking the PC's directly in front of it.

plus the DM said he didn't know anything about the twitter buffs and refused to use them in the game.

there are 2 DM's there that run the game so I'm gonna try and play at the other DM's table this week. hopefully that will help the situation.

edit - is there anywhere I can take a look at the adventure's previous sessions so i can see what this guy is leaving out of the game?
is there anywhere I can take a look at the adventure's previous sessions so i can see what this guy is leaving out of the game?




i think this might be what you're looking for.
Five players in Charleston WV
Night of the Goblins

A Goblin Kiter and the Spiretop ran away. I may have them show up begging for food and water during the skill challenge this week. If the players are nice, they may get to use them as henchman/companion/cannon fodder in the battle against the whirl winds.



That's an awesome idea. I wish i would have thought of that!
ok, I officially hate the DM running these sessions.

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every session starts out the same: make skill checks to survive the desert, then you get attacked. there is no story and no description of landscape we are trying to travel across. I was not even aware of the mirages or cactus fruits.



Every week when I get the the game, the DM is reading the adventure. Its  blatantly obvious that he hasn't even looked at it until about 20  minutes before the game is supposed to begin.

Once the game does start,  it becomes the DM out to slaughter all the players. thats fine as long  as people can still have a good time, but when the DM laughs and cheers  when he crits (and knocks unconscious) a 7 year old kid trying to learn how to play, it makes it not much fun to play.

this guy doesn't run D&D, he runs a miniature combat game. he makes the monsters do things they wouldn't normally do just to kill players, including moving a monster into a position where he can see PC's it didn't know where there instead of attacking the PC's directly in front of it.

plus the DM said he didn't know anything about the twitter buffs and refused to use them in the game.

there are 2 DM's there that run the game so I'm gonna try and play at the other DM's table this week. hopefully that will help the situation.

edit - is there anywhere I can take a look at the adventure's previous sessions so i can see what this guy is leaving out of the game?

I have an idea: next week, if you catch the DM reading the adventure for the first time 20 minutes before the game, take it from him or her and run something fun yourself!

Seriously, though, you or your organizer should explain to your DM that you are more interested in the presentation of the story, roleplaying, and having fun then the pure tactical combat parts. Remind him (gently) that his or her role is to facilitate fun for everyone at the table. Make sure to share your enthusiasm and offer your appreciation for his or her effort as well as suggestion on how he or she might improve. 

The only way DMs will get better is to receive feedback (good and bad) from players. While it's nice to vent on the forums (and easier/less confrontational), it doesn't help improve your situation.

Make the game your own (applies to the players, too). 
this guys doesn't seem like the type that is receptive to constructive criticism, but I'll give it a shot.

thanks
1 week behind the crowd due to no game last week. so here is my report.
I did have a extra week to make more props for this encounter. I took foamcore and cut it into rectangles to build the rock columns so it would give the playfield a nice 3d look and it worked rather well. Much better to show the climbing squares.

I only had 4 people show this time,but we ran with it.

I had
the sorcerer
the ardent
the ranger
and a monk(borrowed from the D&D penny arcade podcast, for they posted his stats)

So the Monk was a new player who never played 4th edition before and took a try.

I worked the new character into the scenario by having him picking through the cactus as the other PC's come across him.

spoilerey   stuff

First was the group skill check: 2 failed and 2 succeed as I described the Mirages and their false leads which caused the PCs to become discouraged and therefore -1 on the defenses.

The  PC's think he is an illusion or some sort of badland savage so they lob a few warning fireballs. This causes him to dive into the cactus for some cover(ouch) he makes his endurance check so the he can stand the prickly thorns.

They come up to surround the bush when they get ambushed by the Desert People on the rock columns. The Desert People tell them to leave all their food and other supplies and they can go in peace.

The sorcercer rolls max Bluff check telling the Desert People that he doesn't have any supplies showing that he is only dressed in cloth and the backpack was empty. They believe him by rolling an equally low insight. So he has made himself a non target so that lets him step away from all the kill zone so he will be able to throw fire from range.

Then the rest of the PC's try to also lie stating they were part of an ambushed caravan so they don't have anything. Their Bluff checks weren't as good and that set off the initative roll because the Desert People realized something was up.

The archers flew from column to column peppering the PC's with arrows ,but they were getting hit just as hard by the sorcercer range attacks.

The ranger scampered up a briar cover column very easily with his 10 move. He then tried to throw and stab missed on the dagger and hit with the axe on the archer 1.

The cutters climbed down to engadge the monk who was still under the catus. They both traded misses. The ardent moved in for a flank with her long spear and killed this first minion ,but that set off the Poison trigger and both PCs took damage from that. They were not happy with that ongoing either.

About this time the drake flew down and snatched 1 food from the monk and flew behind the giant rock column and out of range of the PCs. It was able to come back one more time and steal another food.

The PC's were able to climb up the briars on the main column and engadge the Cursers. The monk and ardent were able to pin the Cursers against the edges and hit them hard. The monk was able to connect with a good hit and knock 1 of the Cursers off the top and caused it to do a nice splat on the ground below.

At the end the Monk and Ardent were down to single digits due to being hit by the Cursers ,but some healing surges later all better.

They all readied actions for the Drake to come back ,but he never did.

They LTB  for the spear ,food and necklace and all ready for the next encounter next week.

James Playing D&D since the Red Box of '83.
Okay, I think my DM messed up a bit with this encounter, because it seems impossibly difficult from where we are now (we're a couple weeks behind), while it seems nobody else here had such a tough time:

First of all,

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Do the vines deal damage on top of the rocks, or just when you climb them? A few of our guys have taken some damage from starting their turns there (10-15 points worth, so a pretty big difference), but after getting home I realized that shouldn't be possible.


Second,

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It's possible to negotiate with the goblins, right? Because we tried that right out of the gate, but our DM seemed to ignore it. I realize this is up to the DM's discretion, but I'd like to avoid fighting a few of the remaining enemies if possible).


I hate to ASK for spoilers...but if our DM blundered here, then it's the difference between making it through the encounter, or everybody dying (two of us are down).

That being said, I've gotten to feel like a rockstar this encounter because EVERYTHING has bounced of my fighter's thick hide. It's the squishy guys that have taken the beating. XD
I dont think I need to spoiler this since its two weeks back now.

First yes unless you are a goblin just being on top of the boulders causes 5 damage at the start of each of your turns.


Second the Author strongly recomended that negotiaton was the best method to handle the goblins in thier strong posistions. Then after that a smaller encounter would be fought with either some renegade goblins or another enemy on more neutral ground to get the treasure to the characters and get some fighting in.
Okay, I think my DM messed up a bit with this encounter, because it seems impossibly difficult from where we are now (we're a couple weeks behind), while it seems nobody else here had such a tough time:

First of all,

Show
Do the vines deal damage on top of the rocks, or just when you climb them? A few of our guys have taken some damage from starting their turns there (10-15 points worth, so a pretty big difference), but after getting home I realized that shouldn't be possible.


Second,

Show
It's possible to negotiate with the goblins, right? Because we tried that right out of the gate, but our DM seemed to ignore it. I realize this is up to the DM's discretion, but I'd like to avoid fighting a few of the remaining enemies if possible).


I hate to ASK for spoilers...but if our DM blundered here, then it's the difference between making it through the encounter, or everybody dying (two of us are down).

That being said, I've gotten to feel like a rockstar this encounter because EVERYTHING has bounced of my fighter's thick hide. It's the squishy guys that have taken the beating. XD



I'm second from the left in the picture.


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

I dont think I need to spoiler this since its two weeks back now.

First yes unless you are a goblin just being on top of the boulders causes 5 damage at the start of each of your turns.



Actually, i designed the brambleweeds to only grow on the sides of the cliffs, but i seemed to fail to make that clear in the entry.

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