D&D Encounters Field Reports (Week 5)

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Use this thread to discuss your experiences with week 5 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

[*/sblock]

will produce

spoilerey stuff


blahblahblah


once you remove the *.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
We had a few players not show at Guardian Games in Portland, OR. We still had enough for four tables on Tuesday (and another two additional tables on our other days). The game continues to be challenging but enjoyable, in part because we spend some good time making adjustments and coaching newer DMs and players.

Info on our store and Perithoth stepping down:

The big news at our site was that Perithoth, our coordinator, had to step down due to new demands on his time. Bryan has been a huge boon to gaming in Portland through this program. He spent a ton of hours making the event run smoothly, attracting players, working with the store, creating incentives, and working with DMs to enhance play. It will take a number of the DMs working together to keep most of his work going, but we will try our hardest to do so. A good coordinator is really a boon to this program. We gave him a good sendoff last night and hope he can return soon, even if as a player.

We did manage to work with the store and starting this session DDE players and DMs gain a 20% discount on product. I am also going to raffle out my copy of the Tomb of Horrors to one person that buys product either this week or next week as a way to underscore the importance of supporting the store.


Ok, onto the game itself. Judges met before the game as usual and we discussed the changes that I wrote about here. Here is how those played out at my table:

Spoilers for skill challenge portion:

First, I took a look at the tracking sheet we use to track PCs from week-to-week. This table was hurt! No PC had more than 2 surges, Barcan started bloody, and most PCs were down at least a surge in HPs! Yikes! Furthermore, the player for Phye was not present - no leader! Based on that I boosted my initial ideas.

Play began with a quick recap of the terrain. I used a picture of Rocky Badlands from my blog and reminded them of what it is like to meander through this difficult terrain eluding the storm. They then reached a fork in the road. Using Nature and boosted by perception, Castri made their first check to see that on one side there was a sand cactus buried there - they could see tracks disappear near it and the tell-tale single central stalk ringed by thorn-like teeth. The other way rose up and required passing over a narrow arch of crumbling stone.

After some fun discusssion they chose the arch and Yuka used Athletics to nimbly cross the dangerous area and secure a rope.

They then explored a series of box canyons. One of them had blue-tinted barrel cacti and short shrubs with seemingly succulent leaves. Using Heal, Jarvix realized that the short shrubs have a hidden serration within the leaves and that eating them would tear a stomach to shreds! On the other hand, the barrel cacti could be smeared over their skin as a type of sunblock (which they all did - also gaining resist 5 poison and acid for the first such attack, which I did not tell them until it happened). Also, they could distill the juice to drink, gaining a free surgeless heal. There was enough for each PC to drink one now and bring one with them, though it would go rancid by nightfall. (This was my way of mitigating their extreme damage and also helping them survive a session without a leader. They would likely have had a TPK without this or at least an extremely difficult and un-fun time).

This concluded the skill challenge, for the as-written regained healing surge! This made the players feel much better.

They then proceeded into the next box canyon, finding a strange defiled area and an area in the rock that seemed to perhaps cover up something. They prepared to investigate.


Spoilers for the combat portion:

I gave the party a perception check and this let two people act in a surprise round. Again, the table really needed this. Shikirr and Barcan were able to take standard actions to soften up one of the ssurans. I also had the ankheg go in the surprise round, which worked really well. The creature burrows out of the ground and grabs Barcan, but cannot use its minor action to deal more pain... yet.

Knowledge checks go all around, with dismal results except for Castri, who recalls elven tales of this creature. Quickly he shares that this creature is not allied with the ssurans and the mechanic for opposed checks. The table made good use of these, turning the ankheg to their side on two of the next three rounds. Jarvix had the cool idea of using Send Thoughts, for which I allowed a bonus on the nature assist attempt.

The next two rounds saw some cool and challenging play. Jarvix climbed the tallest rock near the defiled area to stay out of trouble and still see the foes that were near lower rock formations. He was able to work well with other PCs and was able to attack two ssuran with Dishearten on most rounds. Shikirr went out to dish pain and defend. Yuka went around to duel one ssuran, bloodying it and grappling it. Poor Castri took turns being grabbed by the Athasian Ankheg (which grabbed her on round 1 after Barcan escaped) and getting blasted by it (action point from the ankheg). She proceeded to fail some 4 saves on the acid damage but did not drop due to the barrel cacti effect and healing and the help of Barcan - I awarded the "heal a dying ally" reward because he really went out of his way to help her avoid death. Barcan was bloodied and spent the first few rounds healing or helping Castri. Castri was still able to get a few ranged attacks in (from a previously salvaged bow) and to make nature checks to control the beast on rounds 2 and 3. Both Castri and Barcan spent a lot of time hiding behind terrain.

The final rounds were fairly epic. Yuka achieved a moment of greatness after rolling really high on damage and pulverising one ssuran, then moving forward to action-point pulverise the shaman that Jarvix and Shikirr had bloodied. With his daily stance Yuka was shifting forward with each blow, so he basically emerges from around a corner preceded by two exploding bodies, then calmly sips some cacti juice to heal. The next round the player wanted to climb a rock and jump onto the ankheg on the other side, to which I said "absolutely!". I asked for the climb check and a jump check to tell me how nimbly she had her PC do it - 17 on the die! I then decided that gained combat advantage and +1d8 damage on the attack. Yuka used her daily, for 2d8+7 damage and rolled very high on them. Extremely cool.

Jarvix enjoyed the tweet boost to damage from defiled land, and used Distract and Dishearten to good measure. His daily landed on the ankheg for some really high damage along with an action point with more hot dice for some combined 50 damage. Nice, and another moment of greatness.

Castri controlled the ankheg, which helped kill a ssuran, all while doing her best to hold onto her final HPs while not managing to save against the acid. She did finally succeed in the last round.

Barcan helped her and managed to use his starfall to deal some damage to grouped foes. A lot of his standard actions were helping Castri.

Shikirr did a nice job being tactical about defending and marking. He landed some critical blows to bring ssurans to within one blow of death, allowing allies to finish the work easily.

All-in-all, it was a really good combat. The teamwork was high, the pressure/threat felt high, and the party had some nice moments. They had a near-unconscious and three bloodies out of five PCs, so it was a pretty good challenge.

At other tables I saw one PC death from an ankheg attack. The player took it in stride and the mood was good at the table after the game. I credit the DM with having given them chances and the death being a fair one. The other tables seemed to have an equally good and challenging time.


The players seemed very satisfied with chapter 1. They are extremely happy with reaching an Extended Rest (and still having surivial days) and look forward to chapter 2.

We will be posting our Warhorn signups today for the next chapter and expect to see the six tables fill up quickly. When the store expands we can add one more table, which should be mid-chapter. We will also try to get the new PCs out to players via the forums later today. This will hopefully help some be prepared for the games next week.

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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).

We've had a big drop off in attendance but we still managed to field two tables for the final encounter in Chapter 1.

Show

I ran a table with the players running Castri, Phye, Jarvix and Yuka. Early on things went south for the group as the two javelin throwing poisonscale fired on Jarvis and Phye and the Shaman managed to dominate Yuka ... who then spent two rounds dominated.

To make matters worse, the Ankheg got moved near Jarvix by Castri and the monster jumped on Jarvix, managed to grab him and scuttle away. This left Jarvix unconscious, the first of several times he would be so in the encounter. The lizard folk found themselves surrounding the party in melee, trying to capture Jarvix and take him prisoner. This gave the party a brief respite since when Jarvix found himself unconscious again (this time from an Ankheg acid blast) they tried to drag him off, leaving the party to their own devices.

The ankheg was finally dead when Castri, who was bloodied and who was the only standing PC, tried to offer the lizardfolk his fallen friend ("Look, you already have the one you want, just go and leave us be.") and failed his diplomacy check. He decided to follow up with giving Phye a healing fruit to wake her. The lizardfolk start to move off, but Phye hits with an Energizing strike that woke up Yuka, so we now have three bloodied but conscious PCs and three lizardfolk.

A couple of very good rounds for the players later, including a crit by Yuka, we're down to one lizard folk and three conscious PCs. This last monster was quickly dispatched by the group and they settled down to recover. Hurt but alive.

A very scary night for the players but they yanked victory from the very large jaws of defeat, they definitely earned their extended rest.
Four and a half players at The Rifleman, Charleston WV
Day of the Ankheg


Strange game.

Crappy die rolling all around made it a long one. I managed to split the party and it became a series of duels between small groups of heroes vs small groups of monsters. With no one in the group trained in nature, the party never really had control over the Ankheg, though Jarvix influenced it briefly. The tide seemed to be turning in the parties favor, but being forced to focus on the Angkheg meant the Shaman had time to wear them down. First they lost both defenders, then the leader. With Jarvix and Barcan alone against a very healthy Shaman, I decided it was time to bring in Dead Castri.

One throw and stab and twin strike later, it was over.

I think Dead Castri was a hit. I did my best Sean Penn/ Spicolli imitation. I think he helped liven up an otherwise dreary  slugfest.




Doug James
DM Extraordinaire
,

I had a 5 player table.
Monk(penny arcade podcast character I swiped)
Battlemind,
Ardent
Sorcercer
Ranger

Not many healing surges left ,but alot of healing potions.

Use the dead in creative ways

Ok I set up the map with all my props. I built the rock columns and pillars out of black foamcore to better indicate the height of the different rocks. It helped alot for when the fighting started to take place it helped the PCs for they could get out of range of the Ankheg and pepper it from range.

So the party sees the black sand and hears the pursuit of the lizardmen. They didn't get a chance to investigate the sand before the lizardfolk attacked.

So the PC's get peppered with the javelins and within short order the Ranger and Monk are down to single digits. The sorcerer climbs the highest rock to do what controllers do and blast enemies from range. They strikers close to engage and are able to deal more damage on the return strikes. It is this time that the Ankheg burrows out and then Nature check gives them the clue they need about how it senses by Tremors.

The Tri-kreen thinks that they could ride the Ankheg and direct it towards the lizardfolk. He makes his Acrobatic stunt and tries to ride the bull.

On the Ankheg's next turn it bucks him off ,but fails to connect with the bite.

The rest of the party by this time decided to use the dead bodies of the lizardfolk as bait for the Ankheg to lure it away from the other PC's with low hp like the Range. It takes the bait while they all scramble up the rock coloums to get out of range.

They know they can't wait it out for there are more Lizardfolk on the way and they haven't really scratched the Ankheg.

The Ardent makes a break for it and finds the small cave entrance next to the black sand. She dives into the cave and the rest of the PC's take notice and start to run away for they don't have enough HP left to really take this Ankheg toe to toe. The elf fails him climb check to climb down and then falls 20 ft. and leaving him prone with the Ankheg on the other side of the rock.

The sorcerer uses his blazing fire power with a nice Bluff check, to  attack the ground to simulate the foot falls of a person to lure the Ankheg away from his Ranger friend who at this time was at 5 hp. It works for the lighting is dim and the Ankheg is a tremor sense creature. The sorcerer then tries to attack the Ankheg from his safe distance and starts to hurt it ,but then the lizardfolk reinforcements are starting to arrive. The Ranger tries to jump over the Black Sand into the little cave and botches that was well. I roll that he makes it into the cave but did a face plant and took a face full of sand. The sorcerer is the only PC left for the rest of the party has entered the cave to get away. So now the sorcerer has to make a few Athletics checks to jump down and not take damage. He does so and is able to double move into the cave. As the PCs start to explore it I explain there is chanting from the outside and a rockfall occurs. Trapping the PC's into this unexplored cave system with only 9 days of survival days.

Now the more fun notes of this encounter is that the Ranger can't roll above a simple 10 to climb up or down the rocks is only able to get up a column ,by someone dropping a rope to help him.

The tri-kreen trying to 'Ride them Cowboys', so you have an insect trying to ride another insect.

The most amusing use for the dead bodies of your enemies as Ankheg chow.

The PC's were really glad to finally get a REST.



James Playing D&D since the Red Box of '83.
3 tables at our store (there were 4 tables, but one DM couldn't make it).

I had 6 players at my table: Yuka, Jarvix, Shikirr, Barcan, Phye, and Castri's player switched out Castri for Pak'cha from the Free RPG Day adventure. While Jarvix was low on healing surges, they were all near full HP (Rado the dwarf healed them last week). Because they had successfully negotiated with one of goblin leaders in the third week, they also had a goblin guide showing them the way to an old tomb at the foot of the mountains. As they reached the base of the mountain...

Today's Encounter

The goblin guide tried to hurry them on, as the storm was about 10 minutes away. They saw the entrance to the tomb, which was partially covered in a rockfall (not a skill check to clear, but enough to keep them from trying to run in during combat), and also noticed something odd, defiled, about the area in front of the tomb. It was at that time that a ssuran shaman appeared on top of a boulder and began shouting at them in Draconic. The only word any of them could understand was "defiler," and that was when initiative began.

Enemies used:
1 ssuran shaman
3 ssuran slitherers
1 ankheg
1 lesser fire elemental (summoned by the shaman because there were six players instead of five, but it might a well have not been used since it only got attack rolls of 1s or 2s and ended up dying as a result of collateral damage from the ankheg's acidic spit).

In combat, the ssuran shaman and the ankheg were effective, but the slitherers kept rolling bad and only seemed to hit Jarvix (who would end up dying but not dead on two separate occasions this enounter). The shaman was able to dominate Yuka, but Yuka missed his attack roll on Jarvix (the closest person to him) and then made his save to escape domination. A misreading of the ankheg's acid spit meant that instead of it being used and then recharged after it was bloodied, it was only used after the ankheg was bloodied (described as the injury causing the ankheg to disgorge bile from its stomach). It still did heavy damage, as the group was packed together, max damage was rolled, and everyone but Barcan was hit (including the fire elemental, which was killed by it). Barcan was the one who took down the ankheg, hitting it with a blazing starfall while it was at 5 hp. The shaman soon followed, with Phye landing the killing blow. The slitherers were taken out by Shikirr, Jarvix, and Pak'cha (I think. I don't remember exactly who killed one of them, but I think it was Pak'cha).

After combat, they looted the shaman's body, tore a leg off of the ankheg, and ran into the tomb. Just as they entered the tomb, they heard a cry in Draconic, and a rockslide came down and sealed the entrance. With no immediate threats around them, they decided to take an extended rest.

No character deaths in this encounter, though a few better DM rolls could have changed that. There were two characters that were taken to unconscious and dying: Jarvix (twice) and Yuka (once), and Jarvix ran out of healing surges.


The group seems to have enjoyed the encounter, and they especially like that they are levelling up. They aren't terribly happy with the pregens, though, as they are planning to use the retraining rules to their full extent.
Funny times

DM

Mr. Ankheg how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Yuka pop?

Ankheg
Lets Find Out
One (Grab)
Tahooo (Minor action attack to make Yuka unconcisous)
(yuka makes a deaths saving throw and is good until...)
Three (Ankheg eats Yuka)

Table then takes this oppertunity to give me, the DM, a moment of greatness.


The main thing was that the players had fun.

When I get more time I might tell more.

—Guncici
another fun night with the worst DM in DDE =D

we had a small group. i think he may be driving people off. I ran castri (as usual). we also had shikkrr, and two people ran phye.

Show

so we start the encounter. phye gets bloodied in round 1 so we all shifted, allowing me to get out of the blast of the ankheg. First, i make a knowledge check on the ankheg, then i try to nature check it to turn it against the other enemies. the DM asked me if I speak bug. I say no cause thats rediculous, and he tells me I need to speak bug in order to tame the ankheg.

later, the caster hit shikkrr and dominated him so he used the amulet item daily power we got in session 3 to negate the dominated effect. The DM told him he couldn't do that because even though the trigger is being hit by an attack, its a reaction so he couldn't use the power since he was dominated on the hit.

seems like the item was planted into the story to specifically defend against this monster and these attacks, but he wouldn't let him use it. the way he ruled the power, it would be impossible for it to be used. whats the point of having an item power that lets you negate a domination effect on a hit if you can't use it cause you are dominated?!?

anyway, Castri dropped the ankheg, and one of the other melee monsters, then took off. shikkrr grabbed one of the Phyes and ran off with her unconscoius body. the other phye was left to be eaten by the remaining 3 monsters.


Since we ran off, we didn't get anything from this fight. can anyone clue me in on what items were missed from running?

The DM called us cowards for not staying and fighting for the second week in a row. We all informed him that Dark Sun is about survival, and not fighting to the death. he still said we were cowards.

we had 1 new player who called this guy out on all his bad calls. he refused to see the game any other way and it made for somewhat of an uncomfortable session.

hopefully we'll be able to take him down a bit at level 2 since we all have more hp.
So this week was EPIC, most epic point in red below

Round by Round from Player perspective

 
We had players coming back and some players missing but people wanted to play the characters they had played before so instead of the Normal mix we had

Shikker (me)
Barcin x2 ( Barcin and Meowcin)
Phy x2 (Phy and Sky)
Jarvix

Fortunately Meowcin and Sky had some healing surges, Phy had 1 left, Jarvix had 0 and Shikker had 2, Barcin had 0,  Sky and Mewcin had a bunch


In any case the creatures approched and Sky got one move which she moved closer to the rest of us, Shikker moved into cover with speed of thought getting closer to the baddies.

Round 1 ish

Barcin gets hit with a poisoned javalin

Shikker moves up augments his Mark ability, marks both of the caster looking lizard guys hits one in the face and then uses an action point to move away. 

Phy moves up stabs the first big lizard guy in the face and uses an action point to move away (into more cover)

Sky moves up, misses the lizard guy, heals herself and then stands right in front of basically all the enemy mobs.   I beg her to use an AP to get out of the way but my plea's fall on deaf ears.

Barcin, Jarvix and Meowkin blast the cluster'd 2 big lizard casters and bloody them both.


Round 2 ish

*At this point other than Sky standing where she is going to get nailed I figure we can steamroll these as we did a great job of getting positioned, it appears I am mistaken*

Poison javalins fire and all kinds of death rain down on Sky and she drops

Some big worm thing pops up, grabs Meowkin and takes her towards the board edge.

Shikker moves to try and rescue Meowkin but succeds only in fanning it with some cool air from his trikral

Phy moves to engage the Worm thing hits it and lets meow spend a healing surge.

Barcin and Jarvix keep shooting at the lizards but don't manage to drop anything.

Meowkin manages to escape her grab


Round 3 ish

The lizard casters obviously very wounded back off a little bit and let the smaller guys move up, the split around a large rock, 2 headed for Jarvix, Barcin and 2 heading for Shikker, meowkin and Phy  They throw the last of their Barcin is hit jarvix is missed

The worm decides shikker looks tastier and grabs him and starts to move

Shikker tries to stab the worm but fails but gets out of the grab with an Athletics check

Phy attacks the work innefectually

meowkin blasts the worm with something for a lot of damage.

Jarvix and barcin blast away at the smaller lizards (big ones are oor) but don't bloody anything

Sky fails her first death save


Round 4ish

Big lizards skulk closer but stay in cover, smaller lizards double move, 2 of them flank Barken other ones close on meowkin

Worm spays acid but only hits phy

Shikker stabs the worm for some damage

Phy misses

meowkin hits the worm and bloodies it

Barkin shifts and hits the 2 small lizards with a close blast bloodying one of them uses an AP to healing surge

Jarvix hits the same lizards barcin is attacking

Sky makes a death save.


Round 4ish


Small lizards move up flank meowkin and bring her down, other small lizards move up flanking barcin and bring him down.   Big lizards double move out of cover and close on Jarvix.

Worm grabs shikker and moves again

Shikker bulls strikes the worm breaking the grab and shifts back towards meowkin and Phy

Phy swings at a small lizard and misses, lets meow spend a healing surge and she gets back up.

Barcin fails a death save 

Jarvix kills 1 small lizard


Round 5ish

Big lizards now in range of jarvix bring him down

Small lizard moves towards the Shikker, meow phy group

Small lizard brings down meow again

Small lizard brings down phy

Worm misses Shikker

Shikker the last one standing moves back and shoves a healing fruit down phys throat

Phy gets up does something and gets meow up

Meow blasts the worm finishing it off

Small lizards swarm over but are inneffective

Big lizard blast shikker bringing him down

Phy uses last heal to get shikker back up hits a small lizard and kills it

Meow kills another small lizard

Sky fails a death save (2)
Barcin fails a death save (2)
Jarvix fails a death save (1)

Round 6ish
 

Big lizard charms shikker

Big lizard and small lizard move up but don't have Los

Shikker stabs phy  down fails his save

phy attacks small lizard, bloodies it does something to grant shikker another save, which he fails

meow moves and blasts small lizard killing it 

Sky makes a death save
Barcin makes a death save
Jarvix makes a death save

 Round 7ish

Big lizard makes shikker attack phy which he does and brings her down
2nd big lizard blasts meow bringing her down.

* So Shikker is charmed and everyone else is down and dying* but DM continues saying that they are moving towards meow and it looks like they are going to finish her off*

Shikker makes his save finnally I say I want to act like I'm still charmed, DM tells me to make a bluff check which I make.

Big lizards drag phy and meow next to each other

Sky fails a death save (3) - Dead
Barcin makes a death save
Jarvix makes a death save
Meowkin fails a death save (1)
Phy fails a death save (1)
 
Round 8ish

Big lizards drag phy and meow next to each other

Shikker walks up and attacks the charming lizard guy with a +2 bonus killing him

Jarvix fails a death save (3) - dead
Barcin fails a death save (3) - dead
Meowkin fails a death save (2)
Phy fails a death save (2)

Round 9is

The storm is moving across the board and its just 10hps shikker and fire lizard who is clearly wounded badly

Fire lizard tries to set Shikker on fire and MISSES  

Shikker Charges and MISSES on a 1.    I remember the broken weapons rule and RE-Roll, the re-roll is a 17, I break my wrist razor do 7pts and FREAKING KILL THE LAST LIZARD HELL YES.

Round 10ish

Shikker grabs meow and phy and starts moving towards the mountain just ahead of the storm

moewkin fails death save (3) - dead 
phy makes death save

Round 11ish

Storm moves across the board

Shikker double moves to the wall fails perception and can find a place to hide or go in

phy fails a death save (3) - dead


Round 12 ish

Storm engulfs shikker down 2dmg (8hps left)

Shikker looks again for anything but cant find a place to hide/climb ect

Round 13ish

Storm beats shikker for 2dmg (6hps left)

Shikker finally sees a cave and dives in, the only survivor

Aftermath

Even though shikker was the only survivor the ending was so awesomely dramatic that everyone was pretty excited all in all the best session so far.   Shikker is going to try and make his new bone wrist razors out of that corpse of that fire lizard me thinks.


 



I'd also like to say we have a GREAT DM over at our table at Samauri comics.
last night started with me arriving to a new player waiting there at the store for the Encounter to begin.  I got there 40 mins ahead of start time and he had already been there waiting with his Player's Handbook & Monster Manual for quite awhile i was told.

anyway, we introduced ourselves and i went over with him how the Encounters program works (from a player perspective), showed him the pre-gen characters to choose from, etc.  After I answered what questions he had at that point, I went back to my bags to start setting up and he picked up his books and walked out without saying a word.

After that the rest of the night went pretty well.
At Game Kastle in Santa Calra

down to the wire

well, the party successfully made their way through twisting canyons, and overcame the exhaustive heat of the early evening. (yeah, healing surges back)

That was when they came across a patch of black, tormented silt. Being cautious, they sent shikirr and yuka to investigate it while the rest of the party hung back. The results: "um...it's sorta creepy". Jarvix finally approached, and realized it was a decimated piece of land caused by defiling arcane magic. And THAT was when the scuttling lizardfolk appears, promptly believing the patch was caused by the PCs. Hostilities were the order of the day.

Right off the bat, Barcan got plowed by a javelin, becoming bloodied in a single hit. Yuka moved up and tied up one of the other javelineers. A second lizardfolk threw a bullseye, dropping Jarvix with a single hit (javelin hit, poison crit). The shaman, blaming Barcan and Jarvix for the defiled area, dominated barcan. The third javelineer, engaged with Yuka, attempted to stab him and failed. He could not reformulate an attack strategy, since all of the other party members descended on him, killing him outright (and healing jarvix). Luckily however, this put 3 of them right next to Barcan, who burning sprayed his own party...the shaman reveled in the irony. Jarvix. seeking revenge, unloaded on the shaman, bringing the ssuran near death. Shortly there after, there was a rumbling, and erupting from the ground was a giant insectoid...scary!!!

Unfortunately though, that was the last reveling the ssuran did...The lizards accuracy proved to be failing, undoubtedly from the unsettling nature of the black silt...while the PCs seized the opportunity. Yuka closed on the shaman, dropping him, leaving 2 javelineers to attempt to rest control of the ankheg from the PCs (failing). By the time the beast went, there was but one enemy for Castri to sick it on, and it was too far away to attack this turn. Then the PCs felled the last of the lizardfolk, with the ankheg right next to them...

It spewed acid on 4 of the party, and grabbed castri. Luckily, Yuka was there to distract it, grabbing it in return. Castri escaped and retreated "uh...I need to pick up some daggers, yeah, that's it". Losing it's easy meal, it broke free from Yuka, and went after shikirr instead, grabbing him and scuttling down into a burrow. This caused the problem of limited area in which to engage the beast. At his point, Yuka moved in and bloodied the beast. This caused a conundrum for many of the party. They knew the beast would be savage, and most likely breath again, but with it retreating down a tunnel, it offered limited avenues of attack...
Risky decimation, the party closed, battered and bloodied, into the tunnel. Even Barcan and Jarvix moved in, knowing that the only place they could see the beast was at the lip of it's newly burrowed path. Attack after desperate attack, the party rained death upon it, trying to kill it before it could spew acid on EVERYONE...
It came down to barcan, the last of the party to act before it...
bottom of the round, 5 friends bloodied, 6 hp left on himself, 50/50 chance of dealing a death blow (needed to hit, all but min damage would kill it), barcan stepped into the breach, let loose a blazing starfall (knowing that, in order to hit EVERYONE, it would need to crawl forward a little, and not sure if the minor fire damage would kill it or not).

A HIT! and just enough burning light to drop the beast. A collective sigh of relief was exhaled from the party. Quickly the party decended on Shikirr, to help him shed the clinging acid.

And what's this? a cave? perhaps we can rest in here...sadly though, there is only enough food for some of us...nobly, Yuka and Shikirr went without, knowing the dangers of not fully recuperating after the long journey through the sun baked wastes...they are still fatigued from the journey (got hit with sun sickness, failed the save, AND didn't improve the condition during the rest).

Well, we're in a cave, might as well see where this goes...
another fun night with the worst DM in DDE =D



Wow, that was rough. I mean, I laughed, for which I really apologize, but I should have cried.

My only advice is to just take the guy aside in a non-confrontatinal manner and ask him to tone the challenge level down. Let him know that while you really want to play, this level of difficulty isn't a lot of fun.

I also really dug the other stories posted so far, from the player walking off (maybe he just wasn't ready for the big step of becoming a geek?) to the epic weapon breakage.

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Wow, that was rough. I mean, I laughed, for which I really apologize, but I should have cried.

My only advice is to just take the guy aside in a non-confrontatinal manner and ask him to tone the challenge level down. Let him know that while you really want to play, this level of difficulty isn't a lot of fun.



we've discussed the difficulty level, and he likes it where it is. he likes to try and kill the party every week.

I'm just gonna roll with it. he hasn't killed me yet, and he isn't going to. If the encounter starts turning south, i'll make a run for it like i did the last two weeks. Cool
Session 5 went great for our group at Uncle's games in Southcenter Mall near Seattle.  We once again had a full table of six.  Our DM ("Kedrith") has done a good job scaling the difficulty level for our group.  Here is the journal from our adventure.  Enjoy!



adayinthelifeofanadventurer.blogspot.com...
My gods, I still hear the screams in my sleep:

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Let's say, the start of the evening waiting to see if anyone else would show, especially the person who played Phye, as the summer encounters has some people missing due to overheating cars or vacation plans.

We had:
Grog Smith [a mul monk from some previous Dark Sun preview]
Shakkir x2
Jarvix
Barcan
Yuka

Letting them stand in any of the black sand squares let them think tactically a bit. As initiative was rolled the two Shakkirs shifted to engage the two closest poisonscales. Tactically this worked well. Barcan, Grog, one of the Shakkirs, and Jarvix go ahead of my poisonscales and shaman, who incidentally wound up on the same initiative number. Barcan attempted to climb the rock, Grog attacked the shaman, Shakkir attacked the poisonscale close to him and closed in on the shaman, and Jarvix tried to follow Barcan, both not being able to clear a 10 DC to climb.

The two Poisonscales near the Shakkirs ganged up on the further one, gaining their +2 bonus and beating the snot out of him. The other closed in on the flailing Jarvix. The Shaman, stabbed and backed up. Shakkir(2) beat one of the poisonscales and Yuka went for the one that closed in on Jarvix.

The ankheg burst from the ground and started an acid spray toward the poisonscale, Yuka, Jarvix cluster.

[fill in a little later, promise guys!]

Long and short of it, I wound up dropping nearly every character at least once [except Grog], and wound up killing Jarvix (although the dice mojo was not with him).

I usually DM a third table (of 4), but this week we didn't have quite enough to support 3 tables, so I got to play!  (Loss of players was due to child birth, and changes in work schedules..  not DDE problems)

Party: Shikirr, Phye, Jarvix, Barcan x 2, Yuka x 2

Show

I got to play Jarvix, same as I played first encounter, and since noone had played him since then I got to keep him just as I left him...  only down 4 hp, all surges, and 6 survival days.

The group must have worked themselves into a hole, or we botched the last set in the skill challenge.  Because we ended up each loosing 1 survival day (instead of surge) after the skill challenge.  Then perception checks against a surprise round.  None of us rolled well enough, but the creatures must have been just as surprised, because not a single one managed to hit during the surprise round.  The check to find out that the black sand was defiled was enough to worry the players, and lead them to wanting to put the enemies into it.. just to see what the effect would be.

First round, Yuka moves out grabs the caster, then action points to drag him back towards the group (and the black sand).  The rest of the round consisted of 1 out of 3 tries at Excise from sight missing (2 Barcan's), and Yuka (number 2), grabbing one of the poisonscales and throwing him into the black sand (used drag rules, but didn't require him to move/pull).

Once the Ankheg popped, up there was nothing towards controlling him, we just focused fired him.  He got his blast attack off hitting 4 of the party members (bloodying at least 2 of us).  But the back last was Jarvix dropping his daily on him (Good damage + 5 psychic vulnerable), then distracting it to double augment Mind Thrust (Psychic Damage + -3 to all defenses).  Followed by a Barcan using his daily (Good Psychic Damage + Dazed..  Total = -3 Defense, vulnerable Psychic, Combat Advantage), and then his encounter.  Then Phye going at him with a double augment energizing strike.  So the bug pretty much only got the single attack off.  After the bug dropped, the caster dropped soon after (attention turned back to him).

Then it was just a matter of cleaning up the others.  I think total 4 rounds.  Only 1 Barcan ever dropped unconcious, but most everyone was bloodied at one point or another during the combat.

Best part is, I have my orb (if I get in again), and I reached my 10 renown points (due to > 15 damage, and moment of greatness for setting up the penalties to the bug).


Chances are I'll be back in the DM seat again next week though, as long as our player with the new baby can get leave from the wife. Cool 

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

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I usually DM a third table (of 4), but this week we didn't have quite enough to support 3 tables, so I got to play!  (Loss of players was due to child birth, and changes in work schedules..  not DDE problems)

Party: Shikirr, Phye, Jarvix, Barcan x 2, Yuka x 2

Show

I got to play Jarvix, same as I played first encounter, and since noone had played him since then I got to keep him just as I left him...  only down 4 hp, all surges, and 6 survival days.

The group must have worked themselves into a hole, or we botched the last set in the skill challenge.  Because we ended up each loosing 1 survival day (instead of surge) after the skill challenge.  Then perception checks against a surprise round.  None of us rolled well enough, but the creatures must have been just as surprised, because not a single one managed to hit during the surprise round.  The check to find out that the black sand was defiled was enough to worry the players, and lead them to wanting to put the enemies into it.. just to see what the effect would be.

First round, Yuka moves out grabs the caster, then action points to drag him back towards the group (and the black sand).  The rest of the round consisted of 1 out of 3 tries at Excise from sight missing (2 Barcan's), and Yuka (number 2), grabbing one of the poisonscales and throwing him into the black sand (used drag rules, but didn't require him to move/pull).

Once the Ankheg popped, up there was nothing towards controlling him, we just focused fired him.  He got his blast attack off hitting 4 of the party members (bloodying at least 2 of us).  But the back last was Jarvix dropping his daily on him (Good damage + 5 psychic vulnerable), then distracting it to double augment Mind Thrust (Psychic Damage + -3 to all defenses).  Followed by a Barcan using his daily (Good Psychic Damage + Dazed..  Total = -3 Defense, vulnerable Psychic, Combat Advantage), and then his encounter.  Then Phye going at him with a double augment energizing strike.  So the bug pretty much only got the single attack off.  After the bug dropped, the caster dropped soon after (attention turned back to him).

Then it was just a matter of cleaning up the others.  I think total 4 rounds.  Only 1 Barcan ever dropped unconcious, but most everyone was bloodied at one point or another during the combat.

Best part is, I have my orb (if I get in again), and I reached my 10 renown points (due to > 15 damage, and moment of greatness for setting up the penalties to the bug).


Chances are I'll be back in the DM seat again next week though, as long as our player with the new baby can get leave from the wife.  



The Daily and the extra damage on crit are the only part of the orb you will get to use.  The enhancement bonus is cancelled out by the enhancement bonus each player gets at level up
[

The Daily and the extra damage on crit are the only part of the orb you will get to use.  The enhancement bonus is cancelled out by the enhancement bonus each player gets at level up




Because they are both enhancement bonus'?   As a player I just want to say thats pretty lame regardless of inherent enhancement bonus'.     

loot spoiler

Also if I understood the DM correctly the daily only works if you attack fortitude and as far as I can tell nobody has an ability that targets fortitude
 
Its the way you are supposed to use "inherint bonuses" with "enhancement bonuses" If you can convinced your DM not to run it this way its fine. After chapter one I wouldnt even blame you with some of the very high defenses of monsters vs level one characters. I've read chapter two and Im going to use the rule as written but I may adjust one possible two monster defenses slightly downward.

Oh and as to the Orb
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In this thread I asked Nick about that and he said it was an error and should be Will not Fort


Also Goldpiece/Tasmin is doing such a great job of blogging a POV write up of my sessions Im using this link as my official report.adayinthelifeofanadventurer.blogspot.com...  saves me from butchering it. 
[

The Daily and the extra damage on crit are the only part of the orb you will get to use.  The enhancement bonus is cancelled out by the enhancement bonus each player gets at level up




Because they are both enhancement bonus'?   As a player I just want to say thats pretty lame regardless of inherent enhancement bonus'.     

loot spoiler

Also if I understood the DM correctly the daily only works if you attack fortitude and as far as I can tell nobody has an ability that targets fortitude
 



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I've played since 1st edition and 4th is my favorite.   However the one thing that bugs me about 4th is the magic items just don't seem as cool as they used to.   Stopping you from even getting your bonus makes them seem just like, who cares?
Argy, you're misunderstanding how these inherent bonuses work then. They are an optional rule for dealing with low magic or non-magic settings and are to be used in place of magic items. They aren't intended to work -with- magic items. So it isn't that the magic items are preventing you from getting a bonus, the bonus is there in case you don't have magic items.
They are also there to not make it such a big deal if you break a magic item. It is a pretty nice rule for Dark Sun.

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They are also there to not make it such a big deal if you break a magic item. It is a pretty nice rule for Dark Sun.



agreed. I really like this rule for dark sun.
I understand why the rule is there and my issue with it isn't one of mechanics.

Generally speaking in a low magic world (previously) every magic item you do get is that much more awesome.   The way dark sun is doing it, every magic item is more ho hum in your low magic setting since half of what it does will already be replicated by bonus' you already have.

It also makes magic item creation ability from characters much less valuable (even though you'd think in low magic the ability to make magic items would be HUGE) than in a high magic setting. 

I understand the mechanical reason behind the rule I just think it makes magic items less desirable in a low magic setting than more desirable in a low magic setting.  If I was the DM, I would just let the characters have the extra bonus at this point considering the difficulty of the encounters. 
Argy, I think you're ignoring the crit damage, properties, and powers that items possess aside from their mechanical bonuses. If you think having an item is only about the bonus then I believe that you're missing a lot of the game's fun when it comes to magic items.
I understand why the rule is there and my issue with it isn't one of mechanics.

Generally speaking in a low magic world (previously) every magic item you do get is that much more awesome.   The way dark sun is doing it, every magic item is more ho hum in your low magic setting since half of what it does will already be replicated by bonus' you already have.

It also makes magic item creation ability from characters much less valuable (even though you'd think in low magic the ability to make magic items would be HUGE) than in a high magic setting. 

I understand the mechanical reason behind the rule I just think it makes magic items less desirable in a low magic setting than more desirable in a low magic setting.  If I was the DM, I would just let the characters have the extra bonus at this point considering the difficulty of the encounters. 


Think of all magic items as feet, head, hands, arms or waist slot items. none of those give you enhancement bonuses, but you still value them for the properties they do have.

Using the automatic enhancement bonuses in dark sun makes it so magic items can be a very rare commmodity, and still give you the stat progression needed to continue. your weapon, armor and neck slot items are still really awesome, they just don't give enhancement bonuses anymore cause the inherant bonuses take care of that.

If you found a frost weapon in dark sun would you be bummed cause you couldn't add the +1 bonus to hit? No, you would be extatic because you could do cold damage, do more damage on a crit, and have a cool new property on your weapon.
Not many healing surges left ,but alot of healing potions.



The Healing Fruit doesn't use surges?

Not many healing surges left ,but alot of healing potions.



The Healing Fruit doesn't use surges?




It does, but in order to keep players alive a number of DMs and I allowed it to give back hp w/o the expense of surges.
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We almost had TPK issues due to a 2nd Ankheg burrowing it's way into the fight after smelling the massive amount of blood spilt as the first Ankheg was bloodied.  The only thing that saved the PCs was the 2 rounds in between, in which one was spent burrowing out of the ground & the other was deciding which "snacks" looked more appetizing.

Needless to say the entire party was on the edge of their seats as they prayed for a chance to make it to an extended rest, which they had previously hoped was coming between encounters 1-4 & 1-5....
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DMing again
Undecided until the last minute which changes I was going to make if any at all, I decided to flip the black sand and player deployment zones.

The arcanist rolled low and didn't provide much information to the party about the black sand.

Not failing to meet my expectations, however, the players did every possible thing I thought they would. The defender and striker charged forth through the black sand, both receiving different narrative flashbacks ala Nick's suggestion.

The other 3 characters skirted around the right side of the black sand, one of which had to step through it in order to avoid an OA; he too got a brief flashback narrative similar to the others'.

I spontaneously decided to impose a -2 to attack rolls when standing on the black sand due to the 'distracting mental images', but it didn't come up as players stayed off it entirely; I did not tell them about that penalty but had planned to if they made an attack while standing on it.

One of the slitherer's best path to target took it through a square adjacent to black sand, so he climbed a rock instead and travelled around. Again I was pleased that this came up so that the party could learn a little about how the lizardfolk fear the black sand area.

Yuka, the only defender present, got dominated during the first round and saved 4 rounds later (see hit early save late prediction). The player was a champ about not having control over his character and failing that many consecutive saves. It ended up being humorous how he was dazed and could only take one action; I purposely had him using move actions instead of charging and the players just kept moving to avoid him; it made for great fun.

The ankheg was fun; I introduced him as coming from the SE corner of the map, with a mound trail kind of like tremors or bugs bunny cartoons, and then erupting between both the ssurans and the party. Nature rolls were made; the players had 2 of 3 successes, but then rolled low on what have been the third and final nature roll. For the most part, the ankheg worked for them.

Once Yuka finally saved, he charged the shaman, vowing to destroy him for having dominated him, and then he nat 20d his attack roll; shaman incapped; gg.

The lizardman who climbed the rock failed his athletics roll to come down so he fell and was promptly stuck by the party.

Due to time constraints at our location, I had the ankheg make a mandible attack on the last lizardmen, then the ankheg left with his prize. This bought the party just a moment to quickly pick obvious valuables off the dead.

The ankheg's burrowing in the area caused some rock to tumble revealing a cave; the same time the shard storm which was holding position off in the distance began to move in again; the party opted to enter the cave.

Totally deus ex machina but w/e.

Ssurans assault the entire cliff face with shardstorm and primal magic, and the entrance caves in.

Looking forward to chapter 2.
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I liked the burrowing thing flintlocke.    A DM has done that in our older games and its really intense when you know something is burrowing towards you and you don't know what it is!
Wait, the Encounters program has roleplaying aspects? The DM at my FLGS runs mechanical skill challenges without explaining why, throws the minis on the map and starts combat, and hasn't even hinted at plot. Wish there were more than one Encounters location in CT.
Wait, the Encounters program has roleplaying aspects? The DM at my FLGS runs mechanical skill challenges without explaining why, throws the minis on the map and starts combat, and hasn't even hinted at plot. Wish there were more than one Encounters location in CT.



Sorry to hear that. I would suggest approaching your DM before or after a session and explain to him or her what you'd like to see improved. Just be polite and friendly when doing so. Good luck!
Wait, the Encounters program has roleplaying aspects? The DM at my FLGS runs mechanical skill challenges without explaining why, throws the minis on the map and starts combat, and hasn't even hinted at plot. Wish there were more than one Encounters location in CT.



Sorry to hear that. I would suggest approaching your DM before or after a session and explain to him or her what you'd like to see improved. Just be polite and friendly when doing so. Good luck!



Agreed. Also, see if some players feel the same way. Band with them to RP. Let the DM's jaw drop when you start playing up the brother-sister bit, the anti-slave bit, the anti-bug aspect, the Veiled Alliance angle, let alone the many RP ideas you can come up with on your own. Then start asking in character for more information.

"These ruins look very old, are they from the Green Age?"

"Barkan, you know something about magic, it seems. Tell us of this Wanderer that hunts us. What do you know so far?" Try to use statements like that to solicit more info from the DM. "Yeah, based on what Barkan knows, what do we think is going on here?"

Consider RPing in combat with the enemy. "Take that, miserable ssuran! And while ye bellow in pain, how about ye tell me why you and yer kind are after us?"

But, in the end, I would just at the start of the session say something like "Hey, I'm enjoying the games but I would not mind more RP opportunities. Is it possible my PC could in-character learn more about what is going on or speak more to some of our foes? I am really curious about the story."

If that fails, then the RP really will be between you and the other players/PCs. That can often still be a lot of fun. At our tables there can be some fun goading and one-upsmanship between the brother and sister, between the VA master and student, between Castri and the "bug", etc. It can be fun RP and just plain funny.

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I wave my hands over my head as antenna when I'm talking as shikker.  Which is cheesy but fun.
Wait, the Encounters program has roleplaying aspects? The DM at my FLGS runs mechanical skill challenges without explaining why, throws the minis on the map and starts combat, and hasn't even hinted at plot. Wish there were more than one Encounters location in CT.


I run the Encounters program in Norwich, CT and you aren't one of the guys that play at my FLGS....so I'm guessing that means there are more stores in CT who are running the program than you are willing to travel to.
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I didn't know there was a game going on in Norwalk. Interesting.
Um, Norwalk != Norwich ... ?
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