D&D Encounters Field Reports (Week 1)

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Use this thread to discuss your experiences with week 1 (Encounter 1-1) of D&D Keep on the Borderlands

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. 

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will produce

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once you remove the *.

WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Hate to nit-pick, Wolf...but I think you neglected to update your cut and paste from "D&D Encounters Dark Sun" to "D&D Encounters: Keep on the Borderlands" or some such.  Wink
Hate to nit-pick, Wolf...but I think you neglected to update your cut and paste from "D&D Encounters Dark Sun" to "D&D Encounters: Keep on the Borderlands" or some such.  Wink



Yeah, I'm lazy.  
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

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First turn: "I'll shoot the Dragonborn."

*17 damage*

"Okay, AP to shoot again."

*Rolls a 4*

"Does 15 to AC hit?"

DM: No.

"Heroic Effort? How about a 19?"

DM: ...hits.

*12 Damage*

DM: ...bloodied.

*A few turns later, Wizard drops Dragonborn.*


Ahaha, human slayer. The enemy was at the bottom of the round, too, so he didn't even get to act.



Gaqme Citadel, Bangor, Maine

After the very well-done RP session and info gathering, the players get to the grotto.

 The cleric raced to attack the Trapper for a small hit. Kesk came around next, asking who the party was, why therey were there, and using his Encounter Power on the Cleric, forcing him to grant Combat Advantage, which the Traaper used for his net strike, then drag into the pit.

A needler attacked the thief for a Critical Hit - unconscious!

The wizard used a power to slide Kesk into the pit, who failed his save to not fall in.

The thief spent three rounds unconscious, until he finally saved - and was hit again by another Needler, who again scored a Critical! Nighty-night for another few rounds, thief.  

 The party finally defeated everyone except Kesk, who had the blade of his axe to Gordi's throat. He gave them the option of surrendering himself for information on the condition that he be set free, or that he die in an honorable duel to the death with a character of his choosing. The cleric spoke to him, was convinced of his sincerity, and agreed to let him go for information. Kesk let Gordi  live, spilled his guts about who hired him, went to leave, and was subsequently attacked by the wizard and one of the fighters, who proceeded to kill him anyway (alignment, schminement).

I was kinda disappointed with the easily dropped Dragonborn, and the fact the trapper didn't really get oporotunity to trap, but overall this was an excellent combat. But the more interaesting part was the rp. Unfortunately, someone at my table would allow a good rp, but I am trading off this player with the other dm.(yes, like a playing card, and the other dm intends to rip him up and through him in the trash)


 


All in fun of course, the player knows, ithink.

Good game over all, with all the pregens being used (i.e. full group!) and the vast majority of players being first timers to Encounters or D&D in general.  It was also my first time DMing an Encounters group so it was, for almost everyone a fresh start/beginning for the new season.

Unfortunately my store only had one group again this season despite having new people.  4 of our previous members decided not to continue on into the new season.

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I started off with a changed from Wizards suggestions by having the party as a group from the beginning with the caravan.  I did this because be we started everyone was looking over the pregens and talking to one another about them.  The meal with Benwick was interesting and a lot of roleplaying was done during the meeting itself, with our clerics getting into a debate over the idea of Erathis being "un-welcomed" by the citizens of Restwell Keep and Merric disappearing and stealing some gold and a yet unknown amulet from Father Benwick.  

Afterwards the players went to the Stumbling Giant and broke apart for drinking, carousing, and information gathering, with some interesting results from a Dwarven drinking contest, to an arm-wrestling match with a half-orc bouncer and more pick-pocketing from Merric (5gp 8sp)who then lost ALL his money in a game of dagger (darts) with a "old one-eyed man in a wide brimmed hat".

The encounter started off with the Rogue Thief getting a crit. stealth check and scouting the cave, as well as getting a crit. backstab on the Greenscale Trapper after the party came up with their plan.  Unfortunately, the backstab happened before the party revealed themselves, disallowing any roleplay between them and Dragonborn leader.  Combat was swift and smoother with only the Fighter Knight reaching a point of being bloodied.  Which was wasn't much of an issue given that the two clerics stayed on his flanks.  The Dragonborn soon surrendered and was allowed to give up and leave with his life (but not his sword or items).  The Needlers didn't like this much and suicide rushed the pcs, only to fall to the Wizard who had, smartly, held his action.

After combat, Geordi was rescued and after many ST:TNG jokes the party set about looting the dead, the grotto, and attempting to skin the fallen drakes.  The Clerics attempted to heal Geordi to little affect and the group thought it in their charge's best interest to return to Restwell keep ASAP.



All and all it was a great game, and with one exception (a 7 year old whose father forced him to come) the group had a blast.  The DM was called out as being overly dramatic and all the adults promised to be their again the following week.
 
Five of us and the DM tonight in mid-Missouri.  I picked up Merric as my pregen.  Sola, Hagen, Eldeth and Berrian were selected by the other players.

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We went about our business and spent a small bit of the night out on the town after meeting with Benwick.  The next morning we set out.

I went towards the lair first, sneaking my way in just past the thorns at the front.  I spied the dragonborn sellsword, the guard drake and three of the minion lizardmen up top.  I tried to make my way out of the lair and promptly failed my stealth check by less than three...  The drake got up and hissed, alerting everyone in the cave to my presence.  I shouted out to the other members of the party for help.

Before leaving town, I remedied a grave slight in Merric's character sheet and bought him a hand crossbow.  I fired off a shot at the drake and retreated back past the thorn barrier.

I got bit hard by the drake, but was able to hold out until the rest of the party got their.  I used Second Chance on a mighty swing from the dragonborn, but was rendered useless by a blowgun dart to the neck (crit knocked me out and it took a good 3-4 rounds for me to come to.)

Hagan was caught by the trapper and constantly pulled into the lair.  We joked he was going into the soup pot.  I managed to come to and killed the dragonborn with a sneak attack/backstab with my dagger (I'd been switching weapons back and forth all night).  Sure, he only had around 3 HP left at the time, but it was certainly entertaining to roll 1d4+3d6 for the damage.

Eldeth was knocked out and nearly killed in the battle, and we all got our fair share of scratches, but it was a fun evening.  Even if all the other guys did the majority of the work!
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We had 2 tables of 5, down from 3 tables for Dark Sun and FOUR for Underdark.

My table ended up with
Sola
Berrian
Berrian (Yes, 2 people played the wizard)
Human Slayer - Duelists/Poised, Greatsword
Human Rogue - Sneaks/Tactical, Hand crossbow shortsword - ME

RP was fun with the tremendous lack of social skills in the party (I, the rogue, had the lowest CHA at 10). We all had fun and agreed the RP was much better compared to last season.

Off to the grotto.

Round 1: Slayer goes Duelists, charges the Trapper, Power Attack, 25 damage.
I'm next. Hand crossbow the Trapper. CA from first strike, 18 damage. Trapper dies.
Dragonborn charges the Slayer, uses Encounter, 17 damage, Slayer bloodied.
Drake attacks Sola.
Blowguns shoot everyone, get in a couple hits.

Both wizards go, use Arc Lightning on the 4 minions, killing 3.
Sola heals the Slayer, smacks the Drake. End round.

The fight was pretty much in the bag at this point.
Round 2.
Slayer hits the dragonborn, cleric hits the drake, both wizards Arc Lightning the drake and dragonborn, I stealth and Sneak Attack the drake.

Round 3
Slayer hits the DB again. I charge into a flank, Backstab, 22 damage, killed. Wizards finish drake and minion with Arc Lightning.

Slayer used 2 surges, Cleric used 1, nobody else even took damage.
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!
@Next Level games in Nashville, TN.
They had 6 and a DM and a spare DM for the 6pm game, 7 players and a DM and a spare for the 8[m game. I DM the 8pm game.   

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Quinn from the pregen Knight, Hagen the Pregen Cleric, Matilda the mostly pregen Dwarven Slayer, Lindarin the renamed pregen Mage, a human mage named Drizzen I think, human Assassin named Al'Drenor, and human Assassin named Diesel.

We spent almost an hour just roleplaying the party coming into town as escorts for a Dwarven merchant, went ahead and took their weapons when they came into the Keep, met people at the bar, and met Venn when they started asking for work.  Interestingly, one of our players asked to go to the bank, and stored a chest there (its one of the Assassins, Diesel, so I know nothing good can come from this, but lots of fun.)  More RP with Benwick, and the next day the party headed out.
   I rushed the party with the Dragonborn and 2 drakes, and I think this was a mistake.  Dragonborn died in three hits.  Trapper moved in hit 2, hit 2 more the next turn, then dragged them to the pit, where Diesel fell in.  Hagen now in range of the Needlers so they bloody him, and Matilda knocks a Drake into the pit, where it downs Diesel.  Quinn jumps in to save Diesel, maiming himself in the process.  Two wizards make short work of the Needlers, although one spent an action point.  Rest of the party brings down the trapper and drake.  Group in pit kills drake and finds Gordi.

Good times.

[/sbloc]

Because I am old school, I am putting one of my three copies of Keep on the Borderlands from 198....3? up as a prize for the player voted MVP at the end of the season.  Really thinking about how to do a Game Day after this Season with a retooled version of the original, with 4 DM's running 4 groups in the Caves of Chaos at the same time.
Hearing about the staff feats for the rogue today, I bugged one of my friends with DDI for the details. I made a human thief using the Sneaky Staff and Staff Expertise feats and a thief without them in case our DM ruled against them. I was quite happy when he allowed it.

We had six, normal for us, show up. One of the players brought his girlfriend for her first D&D experience. He thought this would be a pretty good time to get her started since it was the start of a season.
The rest of us are regulars. Since I had a rogue, Merric went unchosen. I think one of the others seemed interested in making his own character, but because of the character builder delay he was unable (and a bit frustrated).

We're not exactly a roleplay heavy crowd, so we sat there as Benwick explained the situation to us. The past seasons were pretty deadly to us, so... the roleplaying sections have been pretty awkward when it refers back to a conversation with an NPC we never got to have. (That preserver in Dark Sun for example. Not only did he die, but we TPKed that encounter.) A little late, I decided I should take notes.

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I immediately asked Benwick about a reward. He didn't offer us more than the map and the healing poltices, but told us with a wink that he thought the people we'd be taking care of were paid well.

I believe we had every skill covered but Streetwise. Eldeth and I both tried to assist Quinn at Diplomacy and failed. With my natural 1, I'm pretty sure I got sloshed as soon as we arrived at the tavern to ask around. Hagen made sure the poltices were what we were told they were. While the others passed their checks, I can't recall exactly what we learned.

With that, we headed over 17 types of terrain to the encounter.

We sort of... walked right in.

Just before we started, I remembered I hadn't picked my bonus language. I grabbed my copy of HotFL and rolled a 4 - Draconic - on the language table. So I was quite excited when the DM asked if anyone knew Draconic.

The Dragonborn asked why we were there and I quickly replied that we had heard they were well paid and were looking for employment. There were some comments about derailing the whole adventure before before the first encounter. The Dragonborn asked what good we were, so I turned to the group and told him what he was asking.

Berrian hits the Dragonborn right between the eyes with a magic missile.

The Dragonborn, Trapper, and Needlers won initiative. Quinn was quickly bloodied and went down before he could do anything even though he was the first of our side to go. I managed to dodge the net, but Quinn, Sola, Hagen were trapped in it. I think it was Sola who got Quinn back above 0. Clerics, they all look alike. I circled around, keeping my distance thanks to Staff Expertise, but sneak attacked thanks to Tactical Trick. I forgot to backstab, missed, and used Heroic Effort to pick up the hit.

After a discussion about whether or not dragonborn have resistance, we finally had the sense to make a nature check. Since they didn't, Berrian fired off an Arc Lightning. Hagen heaped some more healing on Quinn. The Drake moved forward and attacked... someone. Finally Eldeth was able to move up and attack. I think she may have been the one to take down the Dragonborn.

The Trapper dragged Quinn, Sola and Hagen over to the pit where they all made their saves. Sola seems to be an expert at throwing javelins from prone. I chased after the Trapper, but tripping him didn't stop him from trying to pull them into the pit again the next round. Thankfully, they all made their saves again. Eldeth took on the Drake while Berrian fey stepped up to hit the Needlers with beguiling strands, well, one of them.

Failing to pull them into the pit, the Trapper dragged Quinn and Sola next to the Drake. Quinn and Sola turned their attention to it. Hagen, now free charged the Trapper and finished him off. Eldeth moved up to flank the Drake and it went down as well.

Instead of taking out the final minion with a mm, Berrian used his second wind and retreated. (We had the tweet which let you regain one Healing Surge at the end of the encounter and he didn't want it to go to waste.) Quinn climbed up next to the Needler but it took him two move actions. Around this time Quinn's player added up his damage and he was 6 away from the 50+ Renown point. We joked that we should just wait a couple of turns for the Needler to whittle it down or have Berrian hit him with a mm. Sola succeeded in missing it, but I backed up and took this chance to use backstab on the minion since I hadn't gotten a chance since the first round. Rolled the damage out even though it popped and got my hit for 15+.


I think the group decided we think it's pretty good so far. There's some worry that we'll be sick of it by the end since we were already getting sick of Dark Sun and this is five sessions longer. The girlfriend seemed to enjoy it and I think will be back for next week.
First impression: Kicked off with less of a bang than seasons 1 and 2, but a nice mystery and suspicion to open things.
Second impression: MUUUUUUCH better design than season 2. (Sims can actually write, unlike whatshisname from last time!)

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Hagen, Sola, Quinn, three original characters (Executioner, Thief, Illusionist). All veteran players, five of six also Encounters veteran players/GMs.

Didn't wait for morning, but headed out immediately after asking the guards about the Banker.

Executioner and Thief sneaked into the cave before combat started. Drake spotted them but didn't immediately act. Traded insults and challenges with Dragonborn for a moment. Dragonborn gets frustrated and signals the attack. 

Dragonborn takes hard crit from Executioner, soft crit from Sola, hit from hypnotized Drake, drops before acting. Netter begins to panic.

Netter gets one good attack off, dies on round 3 to a charge hard crit buffed by Hagen from Thief.

Drake 1 gets Sparta-kicked into the pit on round 4.

Drake 2 enters play, along with Needlers. Quinn charges lead Needler, misses.

Quinn is knocked out by Needler crit on round 5.

Sola moves to assist Quinn, Quinn fails granted save, keeps snoring. Hagen, Thief and Executioner start playing kick the can with Drake 2 (Drake 2 is the can).

Quinn fails a save, gets bloodied. Drake 2 hits Executioner and bloodies him on round 6.

Quinn fails a save, Sola takes damage but kills a needler. Illusionist kills a needler. Hagen and Thief whiff on Drake 2 on round 7.

Quinn fails a save, Sola kills last Needler, Quinn fails granted save on round 8.

Quinn makes a save (finally!), everybody whiffs on Drake 2. Drake 2 bloodies Executioner again on round 9.

Quinn stands, moves toward Drake 2, AP charges, kills Drake 2. 

Sola slaps Dragonborn until he comes to. Sola and Hagen interrogate and rob Dragonborn before ejecting him from cave. 

Find the "friend," return to the Priest.

Total damage taken by party: less than 40.
Total healing surges used by party: 4.
"15+ damage" renown awards: 6
Moments of Greatness: 1 (Sparta-kick)
AP used: 1
Dailies used: 0
Number of times GM increased encounter difficulty: 2
Amount of gold that came out of the Dragonborn when beaten with a stick: 30
Number of "Orc on a stick" jokes: 7
Number of "Zero Wing" jokes: 2
Number of "Gurren Lagann" jokes: 1
Amount of time spend standing around BSing after game: 00:45:30
Participants who had a blast: 7 (incl. GM)


Overall opinion of Essentials: warming slightly. Might actually buy "Heroes of" books.
To Wizards of the Coast: Good job! Almost makes up for the sucker punch at the beginning of season 2. Keep up the good work!
-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
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I played one session and then DM'd the next. When playing, we had an incredibly hard time. We went charging in and pretty much ignored the needlers, but got pulverized whenever it was their turn. The DM got a couple of crits, so we were all unconscious for at least one round. We had a wizard, two knights and a storm priest, so not terribly balanced. The Trapper got three people (everyone but the sun priest) in a net, but one of the knights escaped. The other two went into the pit and took a couple turns trying to get out. We were all nearly dead at that point, but our DM was pretty gracious in letting one of the people in the pit out after a few failed tries (+0 to athletics).

The game I ran it went pretty much the opposite. We had a rogue, a knight (who mostly did ranged stuff), a wizard and a sun priest I had one person at the table who also played at the first session, so she basically went after the needlers, popping magic missle after magic missle at 'em. They started off with a surprise round since the rogue is an incredibly stealthy dude, and bloodied the drake right off the bat.The Trapper got the net over a rogue and dragged him to the pit, but he easily got out. Kesk went after the Wizard and the Knight who retreated to the edge of the map but was quickly killed. The drake also went away pretty quickly. The surprise round pretty much made everything for my group.


RP never really came into play, which is a little unfortunate, but I'm hoping to give my players a bit of encouragement towards that in the future. Overall, not the best start to the season, but it has a lot of mystery for the players if they choose to pursue it.
i went with the wizard, mainly cause i have yet to play a spellcaster >_<
I'm a bit miffed that our DM put in place a "House Rule" saying that all PC's are Good Aligned.

the encounter went pretty well, except for the fact that EVERY time I formulated a plan, it got ruined.

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first i was going to use Ghost Sound to get the creatures to look away from the entrance and try to get a surprise round, but the DM said i couldn't because GW is a Cantrip and can't effect a battle, even though it's a standered action, and can make a noise as loud as a yell or a fight. later on i wanted to use Charm of Misplaced Wrath on the DB to attack the trapper, but another PC occupied one of the squares i was going to have him move through. okay, i ask the cleric to shift back a square to make an opening and she does, THEN the trapper moves over to the pit to drop our rogue off and got out of range. fine i figured i'd use CoMW to slide the trapper into the pit. I miss. later i used light to try to illuminate the ledge where i assumed the darts were coming from and when i wanted to use Arc Lightning on the needlers, the DM said i was too close to the ledge, 2 squares away, and couldn't target them. THEN i wanted to feystep behind the needlers and use beguiling strands to knock them all off, but before i could, the DB surrendered >_<


Other then that i had a blast!! lol
i went with the wizard, mainly cause i have yet to play a spellcaster >_<
I'm a bit miffed that our DM put in place a "House Rule" saying that all PC's are Good Aligned.

the encounter went pretty well, except for the fact that EVERY time I formulated a plan, it got ruined.

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first i was going to use Ghost Sound to get the creatures to look away from the entrance and try to get a surprise round, but the DM said i couldn't because GW is a Cantrip and can't effect a battle, even though it's a standered action, and can make a noise as loud as a yell or a fight. later on i wanted to use Charm of Misplaced Wrath on the DB to attack the trapper, but another PC occupied one of the squares i was going to have him move through. okay, i ask the cleric to shift back a square to make an opening and she does, THEN the trapper moves over to the pit to drop our rogue off and got out of range. fine i figured i'd use CoMW to slide the trapper into the pit. I miss. later i used light to try to illuminate the ledge where i assumed the darts were coming from and when i wanted to use Arc Lightning on the needlers, the DM said i was too close to the ledge, 2 squares away, and couldn't target them. THEN i wanted to feystep behind the needlers and use beguiling strands to knock them all off, but before i could, the DB surrendered >_<


Other then that i had a blast!! lol



I don't agree with your DM. First off, forcing  everyone to be of Good alignment? What about free will?

Secondly, I wholeheartedly disagree that Ghost Sound can't be used in combat. The team's wizard I ran it for cast Light, just because he could. It was a minor action, so he'd cast it at the end of every turn. It turned out, he cast in in the right spot, where the darkness was concealing the Needlers, who were shooting poison darts at the party! 
Actually, it went really well.

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I got a chance to so a lot of characterization for the various NPCs - the town guard who took their weapons, Venn, Chendera the Avandran priest, Benwick of course, and even Kesk and his "life clutchmate" Fentruck, the Greenscale Trapper, who turned out to be female (not that it mattered for poor Kesk because she was killed by a defender aura-enabled attack that chopped her leg off while she was feral kicking).  We didn't even get to the prison grotto combat until about an hour into the session.  I got the impression that my players liked the opportunity to, you know, roleplay in a roleplaying game.  I'm excited to see that KotB has just a little bit more in the way of plot than the previous seasons did.  

When they got to the grotto we had a human executioner assassin (I allowed it)  try to sneak up to the mouth of the cave, but he flubbed the roll and the guard drake, "Bart" started yapping.  Roleplaying Kesk was hilarious.  He has an Int of 8 but wants to be aggressive and badass, so he lied about Gordi (cleric's passive Insight and Gordi's muffled sick-moaning revealed the lie) and tried to play it cool.  Didn't work.  Eventually, I had Kesk say "Be ready to attack in 5 seconds" in Draconic, which none of my players spoke.  However, enough of them made an Insight check to figure out what he was doing and avoid a surprise round (don't know why they took it out of the rules for the Rules Compendium - Bluff vs Insight to determine surprise can be very useful!).  

Overall, combat lasted about 3 rounds.  Without going into too much detail, it started out being very challenging - I got one PC into the pit via the Net Casting, and kept many of them prone throughout most of the fight by dragging or sliding them up to the pit only to have them make their saving throw.  One of the needlers critted, so down went the cleric (he got back up after the next round - thanks Another Chance!).

Good elements of the Fight
1) The trapper - the PCs were constantly being dragged around, knocked prone, slid, and generally messed with.  It challenged them to think a little more critically - golden!
2) The map itself - most of the elements of the map other than the pit didn't really come into play, but the feature-full-ness made the combat interesting because you could see the monsters and PCs moving to take advantage of it (or avoid it) when they could.

Things that looked better on paper
1) Kesk - basically, he was reduced to at-will swings after his first turn, during which he got stuck in the defender aura and never looked back.  He tried to retreat and regroup, but it didn't work well - interesting character, shortlived mechanical interest.
2) The needlers - I thought this was going to be awesome.  Freaking eladrin mages with their Range 20 at-wills...  They did knock the cleric unconscious, but ultimately the massiveness of the cliff meant that the task of finishing them off was delegated to the mage.
 
 

Looking forward to next week!
I enjoyed this a lot.  Hooray for interaction beyond "kill it before it kills us!"

[spoiler The Party]Human Slayer
Dwarf Rogue (Red Box)
Dwarf Storm Cleric
Human Enchantment Mage
Elven Evocation Mage[/spoiler]
[spoiler The Events:]The dinner and discussion went fine, but I find it strange that the party that was hired specifically because they had no ties to the Keep's officials were being treated to a fancy dinner and offered lodging at an official's residence.  We opted to stay at the Inn instead.

The part did attempt to bargain with the baddies in the cave before just opening fire (the enchanter was both trained in diplomacy and spoke draconic), but we didn't have enough to offer the mercs.  "We do outnumber you, you know," didn't have quite the intended effect.

The battle was brutal, but the DM's dice and some old-school tactics by the mages (namely, trying to stay out of the line of fire) were the primary contributors.  There were eight critical hits at the table last night.  The party was responsible for one of them.

The Essentials Thief seems to be a significantly better (as in, "more potent") first level character than the Red Box rogue.  The poor rogue had a heck of a time gaining combat advantage.

I'm not a fan of the kobold minions, at least not in encounter one for first level characters.  They were awfully potent, and ended up removing one character from half the fight.  Unfortunately for us, that character was the cleric. 

The dragonborn bargaining for his life?  Fantastic.[/spoiler]
At the FLGS I was at, there were two tables.  One had 4 players and I was at a table with 3 players, though one of our players played the pregen Sun cleric and Mage.  

It was almost TPK but we pulled it out of our butts.  I had made a Dwarf Knight and had the most HP left, but part of that reason was due to the time I was unconscious with a crit from the Needlers.  Action points were used by all but myself.  Bad dice rolls.  Unlike some people who decided to question the dragonborn, we killed him quick.  And we left the Lizardfolk alive for questioning.  That was funny since no one could understand him.
Well here in Highlands Ranch, Colorado I had 3 tables run.  I DM'ed two of them back to back. 

It was awesome.

So at table one I had an Assassin (the Executioner) named Bandro, and the rest of the table used pregens (however most were looking to make thier own after the end of the session).  The party role-played through the first hour of the session interacting with Benwick and after learning that they had to head into swamps in the north, they sought out a local expert on the surrounding environment.  So they made their way into the Stumbling Giant and met a local ranger named Arin, after some good interplay they convince the ranger to at least draw a simple map marking local land marks to help them reach the swamp and the grotto.  A quick overland skill challenge later, with which they get a little lost, they arrive at the grotto.

Bandro and Merric approach the entrance as quietly as they can...but while the assassin was one with the shadows...Merric ran afoul of a stray broken branch and the Dragonborn and the Greenscales were alerted to their presence. The combat ran smoothly, nearly all the players scored the hit an enemy for 15+ damage renown reward. However the group kept none of their enemies alive.  They found Gordi, helped stablize him and quickly made thier way back to the Keep to get Gordi the help he needed.

Table two all played the pregens, much like table one we spent most of the first hour role-playing.  However they had a very diffrent encounters with the locals.  Eldeth using her femme wiles tried to get info from the the merchant Bosco Heldam.  However Eldeth learned that while her skills with weapons are impressive, her ability to woo not so much...(it might have something to do with her CHA score of 8) However after a few more attempts of talking to a few others, they get the some information to get to the Grotto. 

Once there Merric and the stout Eldeth approached the cave with caution.  Eldeth proved to be light on her feet.  As did Merric this time, however instead of attacking Merric decieded to use this chance to try and convince Kesk the dragonborn that they were sent by Ronnik.  The ruse works initially until Kesk asks for the password.  To which Merric can't come up with, and fails his next bluff check.  With that combat ensues.  The most notable actions are when Quinn is critcally hit by a poision dart and fall asleep.  However the heroes pull through the combat and win the day.  They kept Kesk alive, and were sucessful in cowing him to tell they what they wanted to know, and oh yeah they also rescued Gordi. 

Both groups had a great time, and I did as well.  This season is gonna be great.



Fredericton, NB, Canada

We had our best turnout ever.  We had 3 tables running, only 4 spots from all being full (and 2 regulars didn't make it). 4 new players signed up this week alone.

Everyone enjoyed the intro and encounter with the 3 tables success being spread across the full spectrum.  One table had 4/5 bloodied and 2/4 down and bleeding, but defeated the encounter without using dailies... another table had 5/5 bloodied and 2/5 down and bleeding... and burned dailies just to make it through the fight.

One table did a fair bit of RP to start and at the other end of the scale was one table where it was hard to get them to even introduce their characters.

I'd say that the encounter was well balanced for 5 players and that DM tactics easily adjusted the difficulty of the fight.
Hearing about the staff feats for the rogue today, I bugged one of my friends with DDI for the details. I made a human thief using the Sneaky Staff and Staff Expertise feats and a thief without them in case our DM ruled against them. I was quite happy when he allowed it.

We had six, normal for us, show up. One of the players brought his girlfriend for her first D&D experience. He thought this would be a pretty good time to get her started since it was the start of a season.
The rest of us are regulars. Since I had a rogue, Merric went unchosen. I think one of the others seemed interested in making his own character, but because of the character builder delay he was unable (and a bit frustrated).

We're not exactly a roleplay heavy crowd, so we sat there as Benwick explained the situation to us. The past seasons were pretty deadly to us, so... the roleplaying sections have been pretty awkward when it refers back to a conversation with an NPC we never got to have. (That preserver in Dark Sun for example. Not only did he die, but we TPKed that encounter.) A little late, I decided I should take notes.

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I immediately asked Benwick about a reward. He didn't offer us more than the map and the healing poltices, but told us with a wink that he thought the people we'd be taking care of were paid well.

I believe we had every skill covered but Streetwise. Eldeth and I both tried to assist Quinn at Diplomacy and failed. With my natural 1, I'm pretty sure I got sloshed as soon as we arrived at the tavern to ask around. Hagen made sure the poltices were what we were told they were. While the others passed their checks, I can't recall exactly what we learned.

With that, we headed over 17 types of terrain to the encounter.

We sort of... walked right in.

Just before we started, I remembered I hadn't picked my bonus language. I grabbed my copy of HotFL and rolled a 4 - Draconic - on the language table. So I was quite excited when the DM asked if anyone knew Draconic.

The Dragonborn asked why we were there and I quickly replied that we had heard they were well paid and were looking for employment. There were some comments about derailing the whole adventure before before the first encounter. The Dragonborn asked what good we were, so I turned to the group and told him what he was asking.

Berrian hits the Dragonborn right between the eyes with a magic missile.

The Dragonborn, Trapper, and Needlers won initiative. Quinn was quickly bloodied and went down before he could do anything even though he was the first of our side to go. I managed to dodge the net, but Quinn, Sola, Hagen were trapped in it. I think it was Sola who got Quinn back above 0. Clerics, they all look alike. I circled around, keeping my distance thanks to Staff Expertise, but sneak attacked thanks to Tactical Trick. I forgot to backstab, missed, and used Heroic Effort to pick up the hit.

After a discussion about whether or not dragonborn have resistance, we finally had the sense to make a nature check. Since they didn't, Berrian fired off an Arc Lightning. Hagen heaped some more healing on Quinn. The Drake moved forward and attacked... someone. Finally Eldeth was able to move up and attack. I think she may have been the one to take down the Dragonborn.

The Trapper dragged Quinn, Sola and Hagen over to the pit where they all made their saves. Sola seems to be an expert at throwing javelins from prone. I chased after the Trapper, but tripping him didn't stop him from trying to pull them into the pit again the next round. Thankfully, they all made their saves again. Eldeth took on the Drake while Berrian fey stepped up to hit the Needlers with beguiling strands, well, one of them.

Failing to pull them into the pit, the Trapper dragged Quinn and Sola next to the Drake. Quinn and Sola turned their attention to it. Hagen, now free charged the Trapper and finished him off. Eldeth moved up to flank the Drake and it went down as well.

Instead of taking out the final minion with a mm, Berrian used his second wind and retreated. (We had the tweet which let you regain one Healing Surge at the end of the encounter and he didn't want it to go to waste.) Quinn climbed up next to the Needler but it took him two move actions. Around this time Quinn's player added up his damage and he was 6 away from the 50+ Renown point. We joked that we should just wait a couple of turns for the Needler to whittle it down or have Berrian hit him with a mm. Sola succeeded in missing it, but I backed up and took this chance to use backstab on the minion since I hadn't gotten a chance since the first round. Rolled the damage out even though it popped and got my hit for 15+.


I think the group decided we think it's pretty good so far. There's some worry that we'll be sick of it by the end since we were already getting sick of Dark Sun and this is five sessions longer. The girlfriend seemed to enjoy it and I think will be back for next week.



Wow.  Reading your recap makes it sound even better than it was.  Too bad we didn't get to roleplay a employment interview--Benwick did say the evil guy with the really cool first name paid his lackeys well.  Good job with the write up and maybe we can make it more interesting next week.

I ran a full table at The Whiz in Westborough MA, mostly of kids, two of which are mine...
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Roleplaying was a bit of a bust.  The two youngest kids at the table just wanted to get right into the killing - one playing a Kenku Rogue from the Player's Handbook, my six year old playing the Slayer Dwarf pre-gen.  The other players were a young kid playing the Storm Cleric pre-gen, my older son playing the Mage pregen, and two adults playing the Knight and the Thief.

After getting a rescue mission from the herbalist, they head off to the grotto.  I had them start at the cave entrance, with Kesk standing up with his axe in hand, telling them that they were not welcome.  The trapper also stood, readying a net.   The guard drakes (I added a second, to compensate for the 6th player) were standing in the water, already ready to go.  The Kenku wins initiative, and makes a blowgun attack on the Guard Drake near Kesk, hitting, but not applying Sneak Attack due to me not knowing that Training allows a Rogue to use it for his powers.  The Slayer goes next, bloodying the same Drake - this gets the party planning on focusing fire on that target, which almost works out for them.

The Knight moves to get Kesk and the bloodied Drake in his aura, and misses the Drake.  Kesk tries to soften up the Knight, and misses.  The Thief moves up to the other Drake and lays some serious damage on it.  Then the Drakes go, missing both the Knight and the Thief.  The Trapper moves to capture the Thief in his net, but is then unable to drag him into the pit afterwards, so he readies another net.  From the darkness, 4 reptilians are seen shooting darts at the Thief, bloodying him.  The Mage moves into the room, and misses the badly wounded drake, but fries one minion.  The Battlepriest moves in, throws a javelin, and heals the Thief.
...
Enough of the turn by turn...  The Kenku Rogue winds up entangled in the second net, and then both are dragged into the pit, knocking the Thief unconsious.   The Knight almost pays dearly for his aura, drawing a lot of attacks.  The Mage moves close enough to remove the concealment that the minions use for hiding, which prompts them to focus on him, eventually knocking him unconsiuos first with a crit, then with damage.  When not dying, the Thief did excellent damage, the Slayer was incredibly good at dealing damage, and the Knight seemed to work well.

I did notice that the guy playing the Knight seemed a little bored - his options were basically to stand near people and attack without thought...  The Slayer was perfect for a six-year old.  The Mage and Thief actually looked really fun to play, and the Battlepriest looks basically the same as a Strength-build Cleric.  Overall it was a good time, though.
What makes me sad - no more compiled magazines: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/27580349/Dungeon_and_Dragon_Magazine_PDFs&post_num=24#495423645
Two tables, one with 5 players, other with 6.

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Initial dinner with Benwick was a little rough, 3 players froze and didn't say ... well, anything. I added a bit about the players having had a moment of excitement escorting the caravan and let the players spin stories about it. One mage merely mentionned that it was fun to torture goblins ... by throwing them off cliffs.

Combat went quickly though. Party consisted of 4 pregens (Berrian, Merric, Eldreth and Sola) and a homemade Mage. Lack of defender means "Kill the Cleric", but also that monsters go down quickly. Kesk never got to surrender, he was the first to be slain. Trapper almost managed to drag a PC into the pit. Overall, a quick but bloody battle as Sola was eaten by a guard drake.
 
I'm the other DM at Atras' location... I basically got an interesting bunch.

[spoiler The Night]
I had most of the adults (young and old) at my table. We had:

Brannus - Half-Orc Slayer Fighter who likes to scream his name. (Bran-NOOS!)
Sola
Oric - Dwarf Knight Fighter
Eldeth
Merric
Berrian

After getting a slow start, the roleplay opportunities were excellent, perhaps I didn't sell it well enough that they should check out anything about Ronnick or the cleric's stature in town, they thought it was all status quo and while not as gung ho as the younger players to get with the killing, I think they believed that was a good way to get the adventure this week off with some blood on their blades and rescue Gordi.

The attempted to approach the cove quietly, as they all decided to be very sneaky individually rather than group rolls. Berrian, Oric, and Sola had trouble with the difficulty and alerted the drakes to their impending approach.

I like Atras used an extra drake in the encounter, knowing my group as well as I do, they tend to think well on their feet and they have been know to decimate encounters. This night was no stranger to their wrath.

Brannus opened with a charging crit on my hapless Trapper, bloodying him in the opening turn, Eldeth made her way toward the two drakes playing in the pool. Merric flung a dagger at the gaurd drake that Eldeth went for. The dragonborn moved forward to engage Merric and the drakes were looking to encircle Eldeth, bloodying both in two lucky hits. Sola came in swinging at the dragonborn and healing. The Trapper backed off from the crazed half-orc and missed wildly. Oric came in and applied his aura to the dragonborn. Berrian just changed the battlefield as he beguiling strands everyone all over the grotto (okay the dragonborn and one of the drakes). The Needlers went last, but were an interesting surprise and pegged a few of the adventurers.

The next round Brannus finished off the trapper, Eldeth basically crit on the gaurd drake leaving it open for a short shot. Merric attempted to get the Dragonborn, but missed. The dragonborn peeved about the intrusion drew an opportunity attack from Merric and blasted the group that he got pushed from and swung his battle axe at Merric. The guard drakes closed in for a quick kill and missed. Sola finished off the dragonborn, doled out some healing again. Oric finished off one drake and the Barrian attempted to blast a couple of the needlers (missing). The needlers shot at the adventurers, hitting one.

The last round saw the Half-orc charging the last drake. Eldeth started off on the needlers, killing one. Merric throw a dagger at a needler killing it. Sola hit one with her javelin. Oric throw a hammer at the last needler and the fight was over before Berrian could pew pew.

It was truly insane. None of the tricks went off and the three stikery guys made mincemeat out of everything.
[/spoiler]
Had a bunch of fun at Encounters, much more that I was expecting after DMing Season 1 and having to alter combats and then dropping out of Season 2.
the Party

Slayer with a two-handed weapon, very bloodthirsty
Sun Domain Priest, vet of 4e, new to Essentials
Level 3 Warlock - opps, found out about that one at the end, he'll be making a new character for next week
Executioner Assassin - me

I played an Eladrin Executioner Assassin focusing on the ranged weapons guild. He arrived with the Caravan appearing as a Nobleman dressed in fine clothing but otherwise fairly penniless. He told a sob story about his caravan full of treasures from the Feywild being accosted and needing to find some new capitol to restart his many lucrative lines of business. I described him as dressed as a dandy wearing nothing but fine clothes and a rapier. Of course, behind his oversized buttons and cuff links were shruiken. His various hat and clothes pins where blowgun darts and his rapier scabbard itself a blowgun. It all came off really well in play too.
the Game

I got to stretch my roleplaying here in the intro, talking with the NPCs. My character was disappointed that the Friar didn't have money to back his cause, but my nobleman decided to take the matter on as a purely speculative endeavor. After getting the standard clue drops about the banker and his possible connections to crime and cults, we took the job and were free to wander about or call it a night. I thought it a good time to get a loan and proceeded to track down the banker and ask him for some fronting for a profitable venture (i.e. pay me to take down your mooks and eventually yourself). I figured it was a good way to get introduced to the Big Bad and maybe I'd have enough money to buy some leather armor (my roleplay needs took a huge bite out of the starting 100 gold!). Plus if we ended up killing the guy later, I wouldn't have to pay back the loan! Unfortunately, that wasn't a good time to roll a natural 1 on a bluff check. On the plus side, my streetwise skill had gotten us some clues, and we turned in for the night.

In the morning we proceeded to follow the map provided by the Friar and got to the encounter. We simply walked into the cave as none of us wanted to stealth up (my Assassin didn't think the pay was good enough to do that - besides it might break his cover). The DM setup and described the dragonborn, drake, and lizardman, and the lighting conditions. I asked, "Parley?" And the DM said, "Perhaps." However the Slayer had other ideas (and higher initiative) and charged into battle. My character ended up taking some of the dragonborn's lightning breath and also a poison dart. The slayer got netted but was in position to bloody the dragonborn who had walked up to the slayer and whiffed on his attack. My Dandy took the opportunity to react to the poison and comment, "Is it hot in here?" as he loosened his collar. Palming a shuriken he threw it and took out the dragonborn. "Ah now to roll up our sleeves," spending an action point to pull another shuriken and throw at the netter - a crit for massive damage takes him out. Meanwhile, I'm using the move my speed effects to dodge out of the avenues of fire for the minions, "I'm sure you stout fellows can take on these ruffians." Next round after the Slayer and Priest had soften up the drake, my Assassin comes out of hiding to throw a third shuriken at the drake expending my Assassin's Strike and taking him out as well (3 kills now). I use the movement to move to the side of the cavern out of sight of the minions. "That lightning breathing ruffian scuffed my scabbard," I say as I pull my equipment out to examine. As the party advances I burnish my scabbard/blowgun with a cravat, secretly pulling out pins and firing them into the vital spots of the minions (+13 vs reflex is nothing to sneeze at at level 1). In the end I think I only managed to kill one of the minions, the slayer got one, and the warlock took out two. Still a damn good fight and the DM was surprised about the damage output of the assassin. We ended soon after by searching the enemies and retrieving the prisoner. The Slayer failed a climb check and took some damage, pretty much the highest damage in the encounter since the Dragonborn had natural 1'd his encounter power and died before his next turn. Too bad none of the enemies had a light shield or any leather armor, maybe next fight.
Hi all,
Session 1 at Guardian Games in Portland, Oregon.  We had four full tables.

It was my first time DMing in public and I had a great time!  My voice was a little raw after an hour of shouting, but I'm looking forward to next week!  The DM pep talk before the game was great and I hope that becomes a tradition.  

I had five players.  One was completely new to rpgs, a friend of mine I conned into showing up, and the other for had more Encounters experience than me.  This led to a few corrections here and there as I sussed out some of the ruling conventions of the Encounters format (does everyone really get to add the cleric's d6 die to their healing surges during short rests?  I always ruled that you can use them if you didn't during the fight).  I kept threatening to pull out my fumble charts from my home game...

It was interesting to play as sort of a public administrator.  I felt somewhat less than the all powerful diety of the table, but that is probably for the best.  I brought minis and some random tokens.  I'll bring a few extra tiles next time.  And I need pipe cleaners!

Everyone played the pre-gens and seemed happy with them.  One experienced Encounterer said he prefers to play pre-gens.  My friend who rolled his first d20s was happy that he ended up with the dwarf slayer because of how simple it was to play.  And he got the killing blow on the drake.
I like the adventure.  It is a classical fantasy adventure (reminds me of old Conan stories and WFRP), and I pretty much just started by reading the boxed text.  The players talked with Benwick a bit but got down to it quickly.  I tried to shoehorn in as much of the background stuff as I could into the conversation, establishing the distrust between the folk of the keep and Sir Drysdale (who I kept calling Clydsdale). 

The fight itself was lots of fun.  The thief snuck in early and the plan was to lure the monsters out of the cave.  Unfortunately a low roll on a second sneak check had them rolling initiative.  The thief did tons of damage.  The mage zapped the minions.  The knight intimidated the dragonborn into surrendering, and the cleric ended up down in the pit holding the lizardman trapper off of the prisoner (and nearly dying in the process).  The mercenary was allowed to leave with his life, but no sword or money.

All in all a fun couple of hours.
I've always allowed the extra healing. It's as simple as "You take a 10-15 minute rest instead" since Healing Word recharges every 5 minutes.

I usually just say it's a flat +3 for everyone, and not bother rolling. Sun Cleric makes that +5, obviously, but the principle is the same.
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!
I've always allowed the extra healing. It's as simple as "You take a 10-15 minute rest instead" since Healing Word recharges every 5 minutes.

I usually just say it's a flat +3 for everyone, and not bother rolling. Sun Cleric makes that +5, obviously, but the principle is the same.


Yeah, encounter powers (and dailies for that matter) can be used outside of combat. The only real restriction is the bag of rats rule. If a PC has a power that, say, grants a healing surge without the character spending one on hitting an enemy/creature, he couldn't hit a non-threatening target, like a rat or punching his buddy PC, to trigger the effect. But multiple short rests to use more healing words is perfectly acceptable.

There is even a feat to support this called restful healing:

 Heroic Tier
Benefit: After you take a short rest or an extended rest, any healing power you use before the start of your next encounter restores the maximum number of hit points possible.
    For example, if a 6th-level cleric with Wisdom 18 and this feat uses healing word after a rest, that power allows the target to regain hit points equal to his or her healing surge value plus 16 (the maximum result of 2d6 + 4).
spoilerey stuff


The group I ran really liked the adventure.  There were a couple of complaints that melee based characters got no Daily powers, and the encounter powers really were weak compared to regular 4E, but over all like the simplicty as one player put it.

The PC's got aquainted with the the keep briefly and dove right into RP with Benwick.  They were enjoying the dinner so much that I eventually had to have Benwick retire for the night.  I plan on trying to keep RP available for as much of this as possible, as lots of the Dark Sun and Undermountain really didn't allow for too much interaction.  But, I do need to watch the time as combat tends to run very slow, especially with newer characters and newer players.

The PC's were aggressive in taking out the trapper.  Since the trapper went 1st he netted most of the party.  While many of them got free on their turns, one did not (a Fighter).  He got dragged near the pit, but his dwarven stubborness did not let him fall in.  The group split their fire on Kesk and the Trapper pretty evenly.  Unfortunately for them, they all but ignored the Needlers who peppered them for the whole fight.  In fact the Needlers did more damage to the group than Kesk or the Trapper combined.  Next time hopefully they'll deal with minions in a more direct fashion!

The group I ran really liked the adventure.  There were a couple of complaints that melee based characters got no Daily powers, and the encounter powers really were weak compared to regular 4E, but over all like the simplicty as one player put it.



Suggestions to point out.

For the fighters: Power strike doesn't look that exciting, but you have to remember what it is. It's actually a 2[W] encounter power that NEVER MISSES, because you only use it after you hit, to turn that 1[W] attack into a 2[W]. It's special power is never missing, which is like Reliable. You can also use it on your charges and opportunity attacks, which makes it BETTER than reliable.

For the rogue: Your Backstab is actually just like a 2[W] encounter with a bonus +3 on the attack. You're pretty much guaranteed to hit when you use it, because the combat advantage is another +2. That's a total of +12, you'll hit most things on a THREE with that. And when you do hit, that's FOUR DICE of damage... which is rather insane. It turns a good attack into a great one.

Seriously, I want to make up 2 power cards. One is Power Attack as is.
The other is
Encounter - Melee Weapon
Reliable
Str vs AC
2[w]+Str bonus
Special: You may use this power when charging, or when making an opportunity attack.

Offer players a choice. I'm betting 9 times out of 10, they'll pick the "Reliable" version
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!
Remember... The Character Gen rules explicitly allow for 'Red Box' characters...


The Wizard in my group is converting over the the Red Box Wiz for the improved Magic Missile and Hypnotism... We will lose some Board Control in favor of Effect Control and Area Control.


In my group the Rouges (One Pre-Gen, the other My homebrew) always dealt 20+ damage... or missed...


Our biggest problem was a last minute DM (props to the DM for stepping in :D ), this season does seem to be more open then the first two, and thus truely requires a fair amount of prep.


I don't think either fighter (A Knight and a Slayer, both homebrew) hit anything that was worth Power Attacking...
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The Guard Drake didn't get a turn... The Rogues knocked it to 1 hp for the Knight to kill, the Knight might have Power Attacked the Dragonborn... But both Rogues got hits on him first... The greenscale got forced in to the hole, then was dumb enough to bring in his own execution squad (The Rogues).
Well played encounters 1.  From half way through we got TPK'd every week, frustrating not fun.  Was talked into playing encounters 2.  Played week 1 TPK (aka more of the same).  Didn't play again.  VERY reluctantly played encounters 3.  Basically a friend of mine wouldn't have been able to play because there would not have been enough people. (see above encounter sessions for reasons why) I looked on this board the day before and read the pregens and found them pretty basic.  Then I noticed a post that helped with tactics associated with the pregens.  I must admit I was starting to be interested.  I like the fact that the pregens are basic because there isn't as much reading and trying to incorporate tactics with the powers as with the earlier sessions.  I took (I think Matilda) the dwarf slayer.  She hit well my only complaint is that as a fighter, the card doesn't say if she marks or not.  It would be more fighter-like if she could.  Can you believe I actually had fun.  I'm not saying the battle was easy but it was less impossible then my other experiences.  We had all pregens, the knight, the slayer, the cleric, and the wizard.  We got tossed around by the bad guys especially the net weilding one but it was good fun.  I'm going again this week, I think you've finally got it!
Austino's LFR CHARACTERS Ander Darkfoot - 12 - Halfling - Rogue/Daggermaster Miget Lii - 12 - Dragonborn - Paladin/Champion of Order Belfire Ogrecrush - 13 - Dwarf - Weaponmaster/Dreadnaught Dragonheart - 5 - Dragonborn - Sorcerer Shadowflame - 4 - Drow - Assassin Big Daddy - 3 - Goliath - Barbarian Utua - 4 - Shardmind - Artificer Terminator - 1 - Warforged - Barbarian Bladyis - 4 - Elven - Ranger
She hit well my only complaint is that as a fighter, the card doesn't say if she marks or not.  It would be more fighter-like if she could.



She does not mark. No character created using Essentials can mark.

Eldeth the Dwarf is a SLAYER. This means she is actually a STRIKER like a rogue or ranger (doing lots of damage) and NOT a defender like old style Fighters (who used Marks as part of being a Defender). Marking is actually counter-productive for that type of character.

She's not supposed to be like older fighters. She's an entirely new version of the fighter concept.

You need to set aside the concept that a Fighter is "Someone who marks opponents" and embrace the actual concept, that a fighter is "Someone who Fights with weapons".
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!
Sorry, as I haven't obtained the essentials books I was under the impression that they were an extension of the 4E in which a fighter has a distinct role.  Having this large a change to the game may cause confusion to newbies who go from one style to another all under the label of 4E.  IMHO
Austino's LFR CHARACTERS Ander Darkfoot - 12 - Halfling - Rogue/Daggermaster Miget Lii - 12 - Dragonborn - Paladin/Champion of Order Belfire Ogrecrush - 13 - Dwarf - Weaponmaster/Dreadnaught Dragonheart - 5 - Dragonborn - Sorcerer Shadowflame - 4 - Drow - Assassin Big Daddy - 3 - Goliath - Barbarian Utua - 4 - Shardmind - Artificer Terminator - 1 - Warforged - Barbarian Bladyis - 4 - Elven - Ranger
Hense the change in naming conventions...

You have the Slayer and the Knight both fighters...

Instead Fighter...


The Essentials classes are meant to be refered to by thier Build not Class.
Sorry, as I haven't obtained the essentials books I was under the impression that they were an extension of the 4E in which a fighter has a distinct role.  Having this large a change to the game may cause confusion to newbies who go from one style to another all under the label of 4E.  IMHO



You're meant to take the pregens at face value. If it says they don't have something, they don't.
Note that the wizard doesn't have an Implement Expertise. This is because the new wizard build doesn't have that.

The ONLY errata for the pregens is that for the wizard, his powers push/slide 5, instead of 3. That's it.
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!
Ran a group through on Tuesday Night (yeah late), All pregens but Eldath and one home-built Assassin (Executioner) - so 6 in all
Hagen was even played by the store owner who hasn't had any time to play 4e!
The Roleplay went off OK - a few of the players were new and struggled with the idea of embodying a persona, but got more into it as time progressed. I introduced rules like D20 checks in a casual manner that kept the rules overload in check. One seasoned player (the assassin) helped tremendously by using his high Initiative to introduce concepts like flanking during his turn. I ate that part up because it helped keep the play flowing and did not single me out as the sole authority on the rules. By evening's end, the new players were in quite a rhythm and worked well.

spoilerey stuff


The heroes decided to trust Benwick implicitly. They left the keep immediately to take advantage of the darkness. The assassin and Merric succeeded on their stealth and saw Kesk, one of the 2 guard drakes and the trapper. As a quick skill challenge, I had the rest get to the grotto without alerting the greenscales (which they passed!) and the enemies were surprised.
The assassin went directly to the trapper with a garrote and failed - but now he was in melee before he could get his net activates. High initiative favored the heroes and one of the guard drakes was bloodied before he even got a chance to retaliate. The other drake was still unseen at this point and out of the fight during the surprise round.
After the surprise round, the first round ended with the trapper flanked and bloodied and missing with all his attacks. Kesk was unhurt. The blowguns hit on two heroes while one minion was eliminated with arc lightning.
Round two was better for the DM and Merric and Hagen were bloodied, but the trapper went down only moments after netting Merric. The blowgunners hit their mark, but no criticals.
Round three ended with one remaining drake and a bloodied Kesk. It was clear the heroes would win (especially after two healing words which made the heroesun bloodied again), so Kesk begged for mercy.
Hagen directed the interrogation and gained a promise from Kesk to leave the keep area forever. The dragonborn was left with 6gp of the 30 (to make sure he would survive as he left) and a dagger. The remaining minions were scattered.
So now the heroes are starting their journey back to Restwell Keep with Gordi.


"You're meant to take the pregens at face value. If it says they don't have something, they don't.
Note that the wizard doesn't have an Implement Expertise. This is because the new wizard build doesn't have that.

The ONLY errata for the pregens is that for the wizard, his powers push/slide 5, instead of 3. That's it."  Is that right?

Really, well I figured if there is the one mistake with my character (look below):

there could be more.  Considering there was errata the first time they ran pregens I don't think I'm out of the realm of possibility here.  And if you fail to notice more then wizard had errata.  Again, not out of the realm of possibility. That's why I asked.

Eldeth - Dwarf (Slayer) Fighter

Feats: Disciple of Stone
Missing:
Dwarven Resilience - Encounter Power


Austino's LFR CHARACTERS Ander Darkfoot - 12 - Halfling - Rogue/Daggermaster Miget Lii - 12 - Dragonborn - Paladin/Champion of Order Belfire Ogrecrush - 13 - Dwarf - Weaponmaster/Dreadnaught Dragonheart - 5 - Dragonborn - Sorcerer Shadowflame - 4 - Drow - Assassin Big Daddy - 3 - Goliath - Barbarian Utua - 4 - Shardmind - Artificer Terminator - 1 - Warforged - Barbarian Bladyis - 4 - Elven - Ranger
We had 6 tables running during session 1 as our local store decided to make a big deal over advertising this week and giving out door prizes for showing up.  Normally, we have 2.

Unfortunately, the session didn't go so well for us:

Show

Our DM refused to give out details of any kind.  He wouldn't tell us which areas of the room were dark or light.  He just pointed to about halfway through the room and said "Somewhere around here it gets dark".  When I asked where the light extended to, he said "About here" and circled the light sources about 3 inches off the table in an actual circle that appeared to be 2-3 squares in radius.  However, he didn't appear to be applying any penalty for being in dim light anywhere in the room, so it just confused me.

Also, the minions who were in the darkness kept hitting us every round.  When we asked where the darts were coming from, he just kept answering "You don't know, somewhere in the room".  We were never given any roll to see them like was written in the adventure.

Meanwhile, the trapper kept using his immobilize power over and over again from 2 squares away from our Knight and our Cleric, preventing either of them from getting attacks in for almost the entire encounter.

About halfway through the encounter, we had people we knew showing up at our table saying the adventure had already killed everyone at their table.

We survived, but just barely.  During the last round of combat, we had 2 PCs below 0 hp and the rest were bloodied.  I really thought we were going to be TPKed as well, but all 4 minions at that point inexplicably tried to climb down the cliff and all fell to their deaths.  I'm guessing because the DM was starting to feel bad for us.
There were five of us present for the first session last Thursday. I had been told that it would be okay to build a character from the Character Builder; I created a goliath barbarian beforehand which was approved by the DM; another player created a seeker. One other player had not had time to create a character; he played Eldeth the dwarvish fighter. The other player was new to 4e (had played 1e and 2e and skipped 3e as not to his taste) and played the human cleric.

The DM encouraged roleplaying and we were soon laughing a lot as we relaxed into being our characters. The DM and I helped to explain the powers that 4e has given characters (eg encounters/at-wills/daily); he rather understandably was still thinking 2e daily spells. I found that part pleasurable as I recalled my own excitement two years ago on having a first-level character who had more than 14 hit points when given the best constitution as a fighter.

It was a good session thanks to everyone getting into the game and the DM's vivid descriptions of enemy attacks and their wounding/death. It lasted just over an hour, which was great to me (I personally don't want to play more than two hours on a weekday night  especially when dependent on public transport)
The enemy wasn't men, or women, or the old, or even the dead. It was just bleedin' stupid people, who came in all varieties. And no one had the right to be stupid. - Terry Pratchett Doraleous & Associates : I'll let it speak for itself johnkretzer gave me a . It was chocolate chip and very sweet. Silversword also gave me a . That one was peanut butter!
Session 2 at Guardian Games in Portland, OR
This week I only had three players (there were three other tables), and that made for a short fight! I removed one bandit and had the minions arrive in waves and the knight, thief and cleric plowed through them. Perhaps I pulled too many punches? I did bloody the knight and thief in the first couple rounds.
It was a little bit of a let down to be done so soon. We wanted to go on to the next encounter! I wish I would have played up the tavern scenes a lot more, but I think just having less players makes a much speedier game.

It was nice to play in the back room where it wasn't quite so loud.

The best part was the Encounters After Hours at the bar. Tic Tac Toe on a hamburger and much geekery over microbrews!

Next week should be a much more interesting encounter. Lets brainstorm on how to make it epic!
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