Announcing D&D Lair Assault!

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Announcing D&D Lair Assault!

D&D Lair Assault is a new Wizards Play Network in-store program that pits tactically-minded players against a super challenge where the difference between victory and defeat is dependent upon your game knowledge, ability to adapt, and a little bit of luck.

Talk about this news here.
Looking forward to this.  Really hoping WotC doesn't find a way to sour me on it, like making it Essentials only or making it too low-level to be interesting.
I'm looking forward to it too. I hope WotC will soon clarify if this program is designed instead of or in addition to the Encounters program.
Is there any chance of either a: a decent range of UK locations or b: a decent home-play option?  If not, much as the optimiser in me wants to play it, he won't get to.

That being said, I'm less than pleased with the apparent official return to adversarial DMing.  Sure, it's only for one particular play-program now... but if people learn to DM that way...
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I agree that adversarial DMing is no fun in a campaign.  But I've also seen how fun it is to get together with others for an event, and a competitive events is the most logical way to bring everyone together.

I was really jazzed to hear about this, but then I saw mention of Fortune Cards.  No doubt these will be legal in some form, which sours me on it somewhat.  I'm still interested, just less so. 
My group is stoked for this new program; it will get us to the FLGS where Encounters has not, just as the Ultimate Dungeon Delve of a few years ago got us to Origins when nothing else had before.  Bring it on!

It's definitely rewarding to win these difficult encounters agains "adversarial" DMs, so I'm really disappointed in those "supporters" who would condemn it for not playing the "right" way.  The beauty of D&D is that it can be played in a variety of ways.
Meh.  It's start the same month I start my studies in South America. 

WotC, why do you always time these things exactly when I CAN'T take advantage of your organised play?

First starting Evard three weeks before I'll be anywhere near an Encounters' play location, then setting this for when I'll be flying off to Brazil.  >_<

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That being said, I'm less than pleased with the apparent official return to adversarial DMing.  Sure, it's only for one particular play-program now... but if people learn to DM that way...



This is the last thing 4th ed needed. Do these people not understand anything? We do not need more GMs that think this is the way the game works.


It isn't adversarial DMing. It is "by-the-book" DMing. Having seen DMs run the D&D Open and the Ultimate Delve, I think most DMs can handle the task. If they can't they won't see the players return.

In DMing LA you want to run a fair game. The chips fall where they may and the players (and, always, the dice) are responsible for the outcome. Your tactics aren't personal but are guided by what the material tells you to do. Most DMs should handle this very well. When I run this type of game I often will verbally encourage them ("I hope you roll high!") while being completely fair mechanically ("Sorry, that didn't hit"). This type of DMing can be stressful because you can't change things. You have to run it as written. The players have to earn that victory, no matter how great they might be as people. Conversely, if crummy people bring an A game and obliterate the encounter you want to be polite, fair, and give them what they earned.

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I was really jazzed to hear about this, but then I saw mention of Fortune Cards.  No doubt these will be legal in some form, which sours me on it somewhat.  I'm still interested, just less so. 



Word is, they will be required.  I've made peace with them though: I've collected 20 copies of Unfair Advantage so each member of my team can have 4 in each deck.  Even if my team didn't already trivialize any encounter it comes across (it does) 20 copies of this card is like adding another two strikers to the team.

Anyway, yes, I am stoked for this.
I think adversarial DMing is a DM that does not follow the monsters tactics as read in the book, and instead has all monsters regaudless of int be tactical gurus, knowing just what resources the players have and being very meta in its planing. Example, hammering away at a player, untill they take their second wind, then ignoring them until the +2 defences wear off. While yes there are some creatures and monsters that would see the defencive stance and refocus elsewhere, most will hammer away.

This I see as a DM who is encouraged to use the rules to their fullest extent, using grabs and trips, having monsters use their athletic checks as listed to jump traps and use terrain powers just as the pcs do, when the monster would know how. I see this as an opertunity for myself as a DM to play as a player and see how tough it can be on the wrong side of the monster manuals.
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Fortune Cards aside, I'm looking forward to this. Yes, it will bring out the obnoxious part of the DM population, but many of us DMs can run a brutal game without being antagonistic about it. Hopefully the pleasant DMs out there will step up to ensure that there's fun to be had for the non-antagonistic players.
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Looking forward to this.  Really hoping WotC doesn't find a way to sour me on it, like making it Essentials only or making it too low-level to be interesting.

Or requiring you to use the on-line CB (to ensure your character is 'legal'), or Fortune Cards, or continuing to nerf PH1 classes the way they did the Cleric...


Personally, if it turns out to be some kind of over-the-top challenge that only bleeding-edge optimization can stack up against, it just won't be fun.  That level of play isn't an RPG anymore, it isn't even a tactical game anymore, it becomes strictly a meta-game.  'Hopefully' it won't be that bad...


 

 

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Looking forward to this.  Really hoping WotC doesn't find a way to sour me on it, like making it Essentials only or making it too low-level to be interesting.

Or requiring you to use the on-line CB (to ensure your character is 'legal'), or Fortune Cards, or continuing to nerf PH1 classes the way they did the Cleric...



Requiring the online CB is just limiting the event to DDI members, which would be... pretty dumb IMO.  As for further nerfs to PHB classes, my party is entirely warlords and slayers, so I'm in the clear on that front.

Personally, if it turns out to be some kind of over-the-top challenge that only bleeding-edge optimization can stack up against, it just won't be fun.  That level of play isn't an RPG anymore, it isn't even a tactical game anymore, it becomes strictly a meta-game.  'Hopefully' it won't be that bad...



And if it's not pretty over-the-top, I'm going to be fairly disappointed when I stomp through the whole thing in about an hour, and not a single monster even got to take an action.  Then again, I get alot of kicks out of char-op, so I understand where fighting +7 monsters wouldn't be fun for people less inclined.

If it ends up something you 'win at chargen' rather than something you win at the table, it's just not interesting.  CharOp is intersting, but it's interesting on a theoretical level, actually going through the motions of whiping out the opposition with the resultant uber-characters is anticlimactic.

 

 

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Ok... so I had time to read through this now. This looks pretty interesting to me. I'm very intrigued, I have to say.

If it ends up something you 'win at chargen' rather than something you win at the table, it's just not interesting.  CharOp is intersting, but it's interesting on a theoretical level, actually going through the motions of whiping out the opposition with the resultant uber-characters is anticlimactic.




I suppose there needs to be some kind of balance here.  An encounter that could last even two rounds against some of the more brutal team-op scenarios char op has come up with would wipe the floor with an individually well optimized team which has not been optimized to work together.  Something such a team could beat would not pose a challenge to a high-opped team.

I'm curious which way they'll go.  Either way, someone will be unhappy with it.
I was really jazzed to hear about this, but then I saw mention of Fortune Cards.  No doubt these will be legal in some form, which sours me on it somewhat.  I'm still interested, just less so. 



Word is, they will be required.  I've made peace with them though: I've collected 20 copies of Unfair Advantage so each member of my team can have 4 in each deck.  Even if my team didn't already trivialize any encounter it comes across (it does) 20 copies of this card is like adding another two strikers to the team.

Anyway, yes, I am stoked for this.




That is one of my major complaints about the fortune cards. a player's poor roll or poor tactics should not be bailed out because he has 4 Unfair Advantage cards. It feeds the whole Min/Max crud that really just doesn't feel right to me. I am so glad I don't have many players that enjoy this kind of game.
Arbarin Thane The Ranger in front of the Dungeon Master.
I expect that, like in Encounters, the cards will simply be an encouraged option, as a way to shore up your character against "incredible odds" or something. Making them anything but an option would just mean that a lot of organizers would continue to ignore WotC's rules in favor of having people actually show up.
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I anticipate essentials only, DDI required, fortune cards not required but mentioned multiple times specifically in the adventure and "NEW" "Unique" and "collectable" fortune cards as rewards to the players.

Basically this make adversarial DMing more popular while selling WOTC's newest products and forcing players to play that way.  Of course you can ignore a lot of these features and run it anyway you want but I'm guessing they will give specific requirements and expect you to follow them.
I am fully psyched for this, got Lair Assault permission from the wife and gave our FLGS the heads up that I'm keen to run it.

I'm hoping we get some sneak peeks of the maps, I want to make the whole thing in 3d with Hirst Arts and insulation foam board modelling - if you're going to do it, you might as well do it properly! Also hoping to have enough turnaround between encounter listings so I can mailorder any monster minis I don't already have for it...

I anticipate essentials only, DDI required, fortune cards not required but mentioned multiple times specifically in the adventure and "NEW" "Unique" and "collectable" fortune cards as rewards to the players.



You might be right, but then a proactive DM could take a laptop and printer, run a wireless hotspot off your mobile phone, login to DDI and have players make characters and print them on the spot. Or they might offer pregens for those not already organised?



Essentials-only seems unlikely.  This program targets the more powergamey set, and we like our options.  DDI-only sounds very likely, though, as it's the only way to be reasonably sure of 'legal' characters without extensively auditing character sheets.  Fortune Cards may not be required, but making sure everyone has a deck stacked with Unfair Advantage would probably be a good idea.

 

 

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Does anyone know if this will be a "start at 1st level" program? 

I've never been a fan of starting anywhere other than 1st level.  Seems like cheating for some reason.  (I know, irrational.)

Certainly doesn't sound like it'll be 'start' at 1st level.   It doesn't sound anything like a mini- or casual- campaign like Encounters.  There probably won't really be exp or treasure, either... maybe rewards, like promo cards or something, for 'winning.'

My guess is they'll announce a 'Lair,' a build-a-character-for-X-Lair option will appear in CB, you build a legal character and take it to your FLGS and watch it get killed, then come back with another one optimized for the party and the specific Lair, and a stacked deck of Fortune Cards, and try again....

 

 

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Essentials-only seems unlikely.

Lol. We are talking about the same Wizards here right? Also what better way to make something hard mode than limit you to the classes with the least overall potential (and no Warlords)?

Also, on the first page someone mentioned "Unfair Advantage", what does it do?
Also, on the first page someone mentioned "Unfair Advantage", what does it do?

It's a Rare in the Shadows Over Nentir Vale Fortune Cards:
Play when you or an ally knocks an enemy prone.
One ally makes a basic attack against the prone enemy as a free action.

You just need a relatively reliable means of knocking enemies prone (and I can think of a Thief Trick that allows them to do it as an at-will off the top of my head) to trigger it.



“If the computer or the game designer is having more fun than the player, you have made a terrible mistake.” -Sid Meier
Also, on the first page someone mentioned "Unfair Advantage", what does it do?

It's a Rare in the Shadows Over Nentir Vale Fortune Cards:
Play when you or an ally knocks an enemy prone.
One ally makes a basic attack against the prone enemy as a free action.

You just need a relatively reliable means of knocking enemies prone (and I can think of a Thief Trick that allows them to do it as an at-will off the top of my head) to trigger it.

The major advantage is how nimble it is compared to other cards, and how potent the reward is.  It can be triggered by anyone in the party, the benefit can be granted to anyone in the party.

The power level of the card is absurd, by far the most powerful card in generation 1.  If each player on the team has it as 4/10 of their cards (and they really should) and if even 1 character has a viable MBA and at least 1 character has a reliable at-will prone, the result is at least 20% increase in damage.

In other words, it's like getting another character added to your party for free.  If the party has a slayer or thief, it's like having another striker added to your party for free, for something closer to 25-30% extra damage.
My buds and I are puttin together a team.  It'll be epic.
I really hope more info for this comes out soon, and that I can get a better taste of it. I would love to play in this setting. I DM normally and I myself run Essentials classes exclusively, but being a player in a very competitive position seems like an awesome idea.
Also, on the first page someone mentioned "Unfair Advantage", what does it do?

It's a Rare in the Shadows Over Nentir Vale Fortune Cards:
Play when you or an ally knocks an enemy prone.
One ally makes a basic attack against the prone enemy as a free action.

You just need a relatively reliable means of knocking enemies prone (and I can think of a Thief Trick that allows them to do it as an at-will off the top of my head) to trigger it.

The major advantage is how nimble it is compared to other cards, and how potent the reward is.  It can be triggered by anyone in the party, the benefit can be granted to anyone in the party.

The power level of the card is absurd, by far the most powerful card in generation 1.  If each player on the team has it as 4/10 of their cards (and they really should) and if even 1 character has a viable MBA and at least 1 character has a reliable at-will prone, the result is at least 20% increase in damage.

In other words, it's like getting another character added to your party for free.  If the party has a slayer or thief, it's like having another striker added to your party for free, for something closer to 25-30% extra damage.



Rad!  So now, whomever has the most money (to afford to buy all those booster packs in sesarch of all those rare cards), will "win" at D&D!  These fortune cards really do rock!
Damn straight!

WotC better stop making ME spend MY money to play D&D, otherwise I'll, um..., stop spending my money to PLAY D&D !!!!
Rad!  So now, whomever has the most money (to afford to buy all those booster packs in sesarch of all those rare cards), will "win" at D&D!  These fortune cards really do rock!

The only real surprise is that it took WotC so long to make D&D into a CCG.

 

 

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Did I miss the character creation article?
Its on the Wizard's play network group. First assault is going to be fifth level, L+1, L+0, L-1 + gold = to L-1 magic item, only one rare (although seems you can buy uncommons) no more than 2 consumables equal to level of the encounter or less.
Character creation says everything produced is legal...  Does that mean themes/backgrounds are options? 
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to my understanding, yes.
Also, only 10 Fortune Cards per deck. That should limit the "arms race" somewhat—I mean, you can only spend so much on 10 cards. In my experience, 10's been the best number to use.
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10 is the ideal size of a Fortune deck to leverage powerful cards.  You stack your deck with 4 copies of the best card (for your build or party - I hear, though, that's usually 'Unfair Advantage').  40% chance per round it comes up.  If everyone is sitting around the table with decks full of 'To the Ground' (a rare attack card that knocks an enemy prone - not that there aren't /plenty/ of powers that knock prone, anyway) and 'Unfair Advantage' (a rare tactic card that grants a free attack on an enemy knocked prone), it's going to be a fast fight - and WotC is going to be happy with the profits that the effort of collecting 35 rares represented.

Some of the delves were 'won' by parties of 5 archer rangers.  I wonder what the winning party builds are going to look like for Lair Assault?  (And, yes, this is an exercise in character & party optimization, it's going to be won or lost before you sit down to play.)  The above Fortune Cards in a party full of Slayers and Warlords might work pretty well.

...

On a completely different topic, I wonder what the DM 'cat & mouse' stuff is supposed to be about?  If Lair Assault is a single-encounter challenge, the potential for an 'alpha strike' or 'nova' is obviously huge.  I'm guessing some of it's going to be about cheap tricks to get the party to unload on the wrong target. 



 

 

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With the CCG being a part of this; and people wanting the "best" cards WOtC will think the cards are a sucess. 

How pathetic.



I will definitely not be one of those people.  Never bought a Fortune Card, never will (and by 'never', I mean highly improbable).  The abhorrent effect that Fortune cards have on Encounters (which is the only place I have ever seen them used) has turned me off entirely.  They just slow down the game, whether by inducing decision paralysis to the already overwhelmed, or by being retconned in just as the next player is about to take their turn.  "Wait wait wait wait!  Would that have hit with a +2?  I forgot to add in the effect of my Unfair Advantage card."  The add absolutely nothing to the story.  

Think of it as a challenge to beat it without using the cards as a crutch.  Poke mercilessly at those who beat it using cards.  They are weak.  We are strong.  I hope there are more than a few that think like this and decide to skip fortune cards.  I don't want WotC wasting any more developer time on these.
I really do hate the Fortune Cards element as a way to optimize your character. I think it's a great "option" for players who desire more "random" features, and welcome it as a function even though it has nothing to do with the core of D&D at all.

Knowing that I will be at a possibly huge disadvantage due to refusal of use on Fortune Cards, I find myself cringing a bit. Nevertheless, it's not the worst thing in the world so I guess I can use it.

If they only made a class that incorporates the Fortune Cards as a main element, then I'd be totally down for it. Yes that would mean I would be spending money to play a class, but it'd still be really cool!
The abhorrent effect that Fortune cards have on Encounters (which is the only place I have ever seen them used) has turned me off entirely.  They just slow down the game, whether by inducing decision paralysis to the already overwhelmed, or by being retconned in just as the next player is about to take their turn.  "Wait wait wait wait!  Would that have hit with a +2?  I forgot to add in the effect of my Unfair Advantage card."  The add absolutely nothing to the story.  

Embarassedunfair advantage doesn't give an attack bonusEmbarassed 

Sorry, I'm ashamed that I know that.  Seriously, though, I have seen the same effect at Encounters (though less so - most often, players forget to even draw a Fortune card after the first round or two).  And, it's ironic that Essentials came out with the goal of being simplified for new/casual/returning players, Encounters was devoted to showcasing that new, simpler, D&D, and then Fortune Cards were introduced to Encounters, making it slower and more complicated, again.  Undecided



 

 

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... "Wait wait wait wait!  Would that have hit with a +2?  I forgot to add in the effect of my Unfair Advantage card." ...  

unfair advantage doesn't give an attack bonus 


indeed.  I was thinking of Phantom Ally, which gives combat advantage automatically with your At-Will attack powers.  Very useful for multi-target attackers. 
And, it's ironic that Essentials came out with the goal of being simplified for new/casual/returning players, Encounters was devoted to showcasing that new, simpler, D&D, and then Fortune Cards were introduced to Encounters, making it slower and more complicated, again. 


That is an interesting point that I hadn't considered before.  I wonder if anyone at WotC HQ considered that Fortune Cards and Essentials would have such disparate effects on play.