Chapter One Makeup Session

7 posts / 0 new
Last post
I ran a Chapter One makeup session for a couple that lived an hour away and a couple of our semi-regular players. I ran it as-written, didn't even errata the pregens. I handed out no free healing surges or buffs and didn't even scale it back for 4 players. They survived to the end with the only two deaths happening in the last encounter, mostly due to bad rolls and the fact that one of the players swapped Phye out to play Shikirr for the last two Encounters. The other players stuck with Yuka, Jarvix and Castri for the chapter.

It took 12 hours from start to finish, which is about right given the size of the table and my regular 5-6 person tables usually run 15-30 minutes over the 2 hour mark.

With a table of experienced players who know the value of teamwork and tactics, the Encounters flowed very well and did not seem unbalanced or broken at all. Now break it up into five sessions with musical chairs and inexperienced players and the typos and errors and imbalance really start to stick out.

After a night's rest and thinking about it all day, I still don't know what to take away from this. My 4pm table has been the same 2 people with the other 4 seats semi-regular, and my 6pm table is always overflow that the other DMs cast-off. Guess which table plays more like a team? I will have to keep adjusting the encounters to cater to my 6pm table and feeding them twitter buffs while giving my 4pm table the benefit of the doubt and throwing everything I have at them.

It was an interesting experiment and I look forward to running it again in 5 weeks.
The take away is pretty clear... this season does not meet the the goal of the program...


The goal is to be a good entry point for new players...

This season severly punishes new players...

It should be playable out of the box for new and old players alike, and for consistant as well as peicemeal tables...


As you have seen, it takes a group of sauvey players (some with prior knowledge) to succeed...



Show
I assume that you did not run Enc 1-3 to the full TPK potential?

The fact that the Archers are better off flying out of reach during the surprise round, and then can snipe from above is evil...
I like to see it as more of a test of my DM skills. How can I present this material in an entertaining way that does not cheat my players out of victory or cheapen the victory they accomplish?

Yes, Dark Sun is brutal and unforgiving and Chapter One conveys that very well. I agree that it may not be the best setting to attract new players. Still, we have new people show up every week with very little turn-over.

I think the Encounters program is less "introduce new players to the game/hobby" and more "Introduce veterans to 4e" or "get people gaming that can't find the time to game anymore". Part of the appeal of Encounters is the small time commitment (2 hours a week) which brings in people that work and have families and other responsibilities and don't get to play in the marathon sessions they used to. I find it is bringing in players old and new at our venue, and the grognards are doing an excellent job of helping out the greenhorns.

Show
I ran 1-3 as-is. I hit a bad-streak of rolls that Encounter (and I roll in the open, so my players know I don't fudge in their favor). The Archers swooped a bit but I did not keep them out of range for the Encounter. They were deadly but only managed to drop Jarvix once (maybe twice?).
My dice like to Crit and/or max damage too much to roll in the open...


Show
So, you are admit to running 1-3 soft to not kill the party...

My group disliked that I ran the Archers very stupid... I didn't have them get and stay out of range of the party... They did appreciate the chance to fight back, but not the reason why...
My dice like to Crit and/or max damage too much to roll in the open...


Show
So, you are admit to running 1-3 soft to not kill the party...

My group disliked that I ran the Archers very stupid... I didn't have them get and stay out of range of the party... They did appreciate the chance to fight back, but not the reason why...



there are infinite ways

to modify the encounter to be a good challenge without having to "run enemies stupid".  to imply otherwise is simply preposterous.  one easy fix that the party need not know about is to simply have the archers stationary on top of the rocks (i.e. take away their gliders; why would they have gliders to begin with?).


now, if your party wants you to run the adventures as written, then it's their own fault for having a lousy game.  anything else is your fault.  and considering that one of your own players has complained on these boards numerous times about you not toning down the encounters, i think it's more of the latter.

and before you start arguing that it's wizards' fault for publishing the encounters as they are written, i would like to add that, as the dm, it is your responsibility to make sure that your players enjoy the game.  if they aren't having fun, it's up to you to find out why and fix it.  if you are not up to that task, you should not be dm'ing.

You do seem to be missing his points...

His points being;
<> Chapter One was designed to kill the party.
<> The characters were poorly designed.


What fail to grasp is that the Encounters program is designed to be run right out of the box...

The fact that the DM must rewrite the first chapter to not multi-TPK is a failure in the module, not the DM... I have a life. I don't have time to spend combing the forums for rewrites on the module.

BTW, he was my secondary Judge for Season 1... there was no need to modify of encounters...


Since the group decided to run their own characters there has been no need to nurf the encounters... I had to double up the monsters for last weeks game just to make it fun...

Once we finish rerunning Chapter 1 (Unmodified), I'm sure that our group of 4 will have less issue then the full 6 pre-gens...


So, please do go on, keep telling me that the problem is NOT with the module... the facts don't support you, but it is a free country, you are allowed your vapid opinion.


My players all know that they are allowed to call BS once an encounter is over, if they think something was BS with it... They were very disappointed with the module after seeing the massive overkill...


Show
My group disliked that I ran the Archers very stupid... I didn't have them get and stay out of range of the party... They did appreciate the chance to fight back, but not the reason why...


[sblock]My solution was really straight forward: I nerfed their mechanical wings into a "one time use get out of jail" card.  I just didn't let them fly up... once they got based and fled, they hand to descend to the cave floor.  That made their tactics rational, and avoided the TPK-by-tactic issue.

And, while I hate to use this word in conjunction with D&D... was more realistic for mechanical wings.


"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

Sign In to post comments