Thoughts and adjustments on 2-1 *DMs only*

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Griefmote, wow, my new favorite monster. My previous favorite, the stirge, they both need to have children together. The "I'm hiding, now I'm attacking, now I'm hiding again" mechanic made for loads of fun.

This gives me an excuse to finally learn the spotting invisible mechanic, but I guess that most parties will eventually have a ranged class ready an action to nuke the griefmote when it appears.

The bridge is brutal, but totally good as-is in my opinion; most of our party fell off.

The ooze is fun, reminds me of that one encounter that killed everyone in season 1.

Corruption corpses, also fun; a very cinematic monster as each of its attacks can be it ripping its own flesh out and throwing it at the party. It's death explosion is also a winner as depending on how it dies determines how the cinematic is.

Overall, I think that the fight is great and doesn't *need* adjustments; following are just some things I'm considering.


oreo filling

some adjustments im considering


With a high perception I might allow a characters to notice that some of the bridge's ropes can be secured better. Catch is that it'll cost 2 standard actions, one on either side of the bridge, and doing so provokes. Probably a strength check, maybe a dungeoneering. I'm thinking DC 15 and maybe only if the party explicitly inquires about whether it can be re-secured/made safer. Maybe I'll just tell them when they first discover how unsafe it is.

I mentioned to our organizer "wouldnt it be cool to put down a mini/token for every body, but only spring to life the couple of them that is called for?".

I got thinking about this, and am wondering how awesome it would be to remove one of the corruption corpses (lvl 4 175xp) and replace it with ~equal XP in minions. Level one minions are 25xp each, so you could safely put 7 in exchange for the lvl 4 artillery you pulled out. maybe 8 of them.

so instead of 12 bodies producing 2 combatants, you'd have 8-9 combatants. besides, controllers don't have enough opportunities to get their "i killed 3 minions with one attack" renown achievement.

a decrepit skeleton's stat line would be perfect, but I'd probably make them identical in appearance to the corruption corpse. ditch the CC on the left; keep the one on the right. that keeps minions between the CC and the party so hopefully the CC can have another round or 2 of its ranged attacks. the only thing that would define the difference is its tendency to stay back, its ranged attacks, and the fact that it doesn't drop with one hit.

how to introduce the horde of minions? the initial trigger and the description of the necrotic energy filling the area and the dead coming to life is great. either make all the minions get up in one go and enjoy the parties reaction...OR...

I'm considering having 2 minions near the CC spawn together; minions move forward. when one of them dies, necrotic energy is released, spawning 2 more. this repeats with each minion killed until you've used all your allotted minions, or run out of bodies.

also considering just making 11 minions that dont spawn all together since not spawning together adjusts the difficulty a bit.
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Some thoughts on 2-1 adjustments by Flintlocke

Overall i like the idea of animating more than just the two corpses, but be careful about adding minions. Take a look at Encounter 2-2, which is very minion-heavy. You don't want to replicate that too much otherwise you'll spoil next week's fun. 

I would recommend animating 4-5 corpses initially, have 2-3 walk directly off the cliff and fall to their doom. The remaining corpses can set up position as corruption corpses. Perhaps there just isn't enough necrotic energy bound up in this area to keep the others animated for long. 

You want to avoid having the PCs waste actions dealing with "false" creatures. That could get really frustrating for them, unless they happen to be rolling the encounter. Then i say go for it. You can animate more corpses at any time in the encounter. Perhaps some flavorful description of the "dead" corpses twitching from time to time during the combat would drive the point home that they are dangerous, but not an immediate threat. This should also encourage them to move on as quickly as possible once the immediate threat has been dispatched. 

I hope this helps! Enjoy!
 
I agree with Nick, the future encounters are an important consideration. I wouldn't make the change you are suggesting, Flintlocke, for the reason that was mentioned. It is cool, though. I like Nick's cinematic compromise.

Here are my notes I sent out to our judges, should that spark any ideas:

In 1-5, the PCs found a cave entrance surrounded by defiling magic. When  they
go within, the ssurans and the Wastewalker quickly seal off the  entrance, sure
that this will be the end of the PCs. Instead, the PCs  find that the cavern
leads to ruins. Summarize this as needed to set the stage, plus remind them
that they take an extended rest.

Note that chapter 2 again divides encounter from preparatory information. For 2-1, there is info on page 5, page 7, and page 10.

In 2-1, the PCs delve into the cavern. As noted on the top of page 7, they start
seeing signs that the caverns are worked. You may want to give knowledge checks
so they can discern that this dates back to the Green Age. Note that they can
fashion torches - you may want to have this cost a survival day if they have too
many.

Speaking of Survival Days, please continue to track these. At the beginning of
session 2-1, any PC without a survival day will be attacked by Sun Sickness. It
happens like this:
1. Does the PC have a survival day? If No, then they are attacked by the Sun
Sickness power on page 7.
2. Were they hit? If yes, then they have Sun Sickness and suffer the initial
effect as noted.
3. Each Extended Rest, any PC with Sun Sickness must make an Endurance check (or
instead have another PC make a Heal check for them). The roll result is compared
to the chart and they either improve or worsen. From the initial effect, they
either are cured or they fail and they now are at -2 as indicated. This repeats
for each Extended Rest until cured or dead.

Note that the boxed text is under Sun Sickness and easy to miss. A lot of
chapter 2 boxed text is not in italics.

Note that the fight starts when one PC reaches the end of the far side of the
rope bridge. The PCs should be on edge, so let them choose tactics accordingly
and don't give monsters surprise. Note what happens if more than one PC tried to cross at
the same time. It probably works best to have this happen only once at least one
PC has reached the far end. You may need to pull punches if most of the party is
unable to join the fight or if one single PC is receiving most of the damage.
However, this should probably work ok:

- The grey ooze will move back to attack the party's rear rank. This takes heat
off of any lone PC(s) up front. Give it a stealth check as it moves - it could
be spotted moving back.

- The Griefmote is tiny. They must turn invis as a minor, then move into the
PC's square, then attack from invisibility. Otherwise, they would provoke. This
is the only monster that really has to attack the lone PC(s).
- The Corruption Corpses can attack anyone with range. If you want, you can
reduce the damage to 2d4 or just target those PCs that are not in great danger.
Alternately, if the PCs are having too easy a time, concentrate fire.

- The Pit Trap comes into play in two cases. One, the rope bridge drops while a
PC is over that spot. Two, the PCs on the far end move forward along the chasm,
entering it. No issues if it doesn't come up. Try to avoid players meta-gaming
based on the map...

Overall, I think the fight looks fun and not overly challenging, which is nice.


Thinking further on monster tactics:

Assuming a PC always shifts away, a Griefmote will need to turn invis, move into the PC's square, and then attack. This prevents using the invis twice and lets the PCs attack it more easily. You can suggest this if needed or not tell them and abuse it if they need the challenge.

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One question:
question
Can the Griefmote not just use its burst each turn to prevent having to enter hostile squares?
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You are right. I found the burst to be a bit strong - a nice power to use periodically to keep the challenge right, but not to use exclusively. I think it was more fun when I got into a PC's square and fought them there. If the enemies are being torn apart you could do what you suggest and hide, burst, hide.

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I actually double-checked when I saw the burst wasn't an encounter or recharge power. It seems a little out of place for a tiny (invisible!) lurker to have such a powerful, almost ranged attack.

That said, it wasn't even able to bloody a single PC, so it's not gamebreaking or anything.

I do wish I had swapped an artillery for some minions. They would have been nice to plug up the bridge (possibly causing it to crash) and then plugging up the cliff face while the artillery rained gore down on them.

Once my party got across the bridge they made very short work of the zombies. The griefmote and ooze managed to split the party across the canyon, but only after the zombies were killed.
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I balanced some table circumstances by changing the burst be an encounter power. My players had a serious run of bad rolls and so had a rougher time than they would have under normal circumstances. I didn't want this too be a super deadly encounter...