(PC/DM) Field Reports, Week 2: The Plaguechanged Dragon!

21 posts / 0 new
Last post
Lets get some great posts in.  I love reading all the stories.  It would be great to see more of a WotC presence here too, just letting us know they are looking in!

Spoiler

I started off with a recap of last week, reminding them of the major plot points, the mysterious Lost Heir, and of course that dragon streaking through the skyline of Neverwinter.

"Their Master comes, steel yourselves and prepare for battle!, the Lost Heir says.  You see the form of a white dragon tearing throught the skyline of Neverwinter.  Its huge form crashes through the steeply of a church to Torm, and you hear screams in the distance"

At this point I take out my large white dragon mini.

"You know its a big, but..." I shake my head and put that mini aside.  "As it races closer to you, you see that it is indeed much larger than that."

I take out my Huge White dragon mini.  My players cry out.  Some look nervous.  One might even have shed a tear.

"The dragon is covered in what looks like long streaks and cuts, oozing with the blues ooze and fire of the Spellplague.  This massive beast is obviously Plaguechanged.  It roars and soars past Castle Neverwinter, the ash from the old volcanic erruptions it thrown into the air, dimming the sun.  The dragon turns and dives towards you.",  I look down at the huge dragon miniature. 

"You know, as it lands, you all realize you are in terrrible danger.  The dragon is much larger than this."  I shake my head at the huge mini, "This simply won't do".

I reach into my bag and uncover Iceingdeath, in all his glory.

"FEED THE FLAMES!  I MUST FEED THE FLAMES.... YOU!  YOU WILL FEED MY FLAMES.  ALL OF YOU!", the beast roars.  I place the massive mini on the table.  The players have a noticeable look of mild terror.  And delight.



I'll post more when I get the chance.  Time to start work!  Get some good stories out!
So I ran a session of this and also played a PC in a different session. Here we go:

1. As a DM (DMs Only):

Show
The same group as I had last week (dwarf warpriest, eladrin bladesinger, dwarf slayer, elf thief) all came together to fight off the common threat. I used Icingdeath, and with the gargantuan base, his rampage was brutal.

The heroes tried to gang up on it, but it swept more than one away with its tail. With no defender, they had to rely on the Lost Heir to mark and keep attacking it. Numerous times, it could have breathed on the PCs, but it held off with its breath weapon until it could hit the Heir as well.

The dwarf priest was upset, because the dragon kept rampaging across the field and with his speed of 5 couldn't allow him to get to it. Finally, he readied his daily attack for when the dragon came up to him, and that worked out much better. He hit the creature, did good damage, and finally killed it. When the Lost Heir turned the dragon to stone, the PCs were in awe.

It went well.


2. As a PC (anyone can read):

Show
I ran a priest of Oghma (with the appropriate theme) who had not played with this particular team before (at d20 Games in Burien/Normandy Park here in the Northwest). Lucan was a half-elf scholar from Candlekeep, who was here in the city to do some research on the ancient ruins. No sooner did he arrive then chaos seemed to descend upon Neverwinter, and he took a wrong turn and found himself in a desperate fight with a dragon! As he'd never seen such a thing in real life, he immediately started a sketch on parchment prepared on the back of his shield. He was also very interested in the Lost Heir, particularly if he was legitimate, and started theorizing about the heredity he must have.

Then the dragon attacked, and it was time to put away the pen and pull out the mace.

Oghma's Nimbus of Holy Light helped a lot in the battle, protecting almost all of Lucan's newfound allies. Most of the dragon's fury fell on the dragonborn ranger, who dropped to a crit when he was at 13 hit points. We thought he was killed outright, but it turns out the DM had misadded and he had taken 1 less damage than necessary to take him to negative bloodied. The party's druid (as played by Gold_Piece here on the boards) revived the ranger, and Lucan added another healing word from Oghma's grace for good measure. The ranger popped back up and struck again, driving the wounded dragon back, only to be felled by opportunity attacks as it tried to escape. The Lost Heir cast a quick spell, and the creature became a statue.


I did want to note one thing which isn't very clear in the adventure (you can bring this up in session 3 if you like the concept): the badges the Lost Heir hands out have the classic Neverwinter symbol (the weeping purple eye, in amethyst stones). In case anyone doesn't know what I mean, here's a pic.

Cheers
Oh, the glory to be had last night... by me.

Without much preamble the session picked up right where it left off the previous week - with a glorious avatar of death descending upon the Lost Heir and the adventuring group of dwarves. Oh, the mayhem. The glorious mayhem. The majority of the group (4 out of 5) used their checks and realized the Heir was somehow attempting to hypnotize the dragon but that it was resisting, and much worse... winning.

The defender in the party took that as a sign to strike. And strike he did for about 21 damage. The dragon then did his rampage and the fight was on. The immediate next hit was the avenger I had told you about in other posts - who did 53 damage. Needless to say the dragon decided he would die. Soon. The sentinel's bear lasted all of one round while the sentinel himself actually did a good job of trying to keep everyone alive. The Heir on the other hand simply... stalled. In a heroic fashion. Waiting for reinforcements. While staying alive. And all the time striking glorious poses for the awestruck crowds. Needless to say, he succeeded in gathering the support of the townspeople while also drawing the ire of the dwarves. The battle raged on, the dwarves panting and exhausted, the dragon rampaging and bloodied. Slowly, one after the other, dwarves began to fall. Finally, it was the defender and the hunter left with the heir preparing his spell.

The dragon charged the defender... and fell him with his freezing maw. The hunter, who had moved to be ready to run swore at his cowardice and charged back in knocking the dragon between the eyes... which only made it more mad. Finally, the dragon got one final hit on the hunter knocking him out. The party came to, to find out the Heir had finished the dragon and encased it in stone in the center of the square and then revived the dwarves. The crowd was ecstatic! The dwarves were irate! As the Heir left, they attempted to pursue but the crowd was far too thick for them to make progress. They found the signets left in their pouches and a loyalist towns guard whispered to them its meaning. Though angry at the Heir for his supposed cowardice, they decided to wear the pins and wear them openly. Perhaps they could lure the Heir out so they may strike at him... (really? Yes - they have told me flat out they plan on killing the Heir). The dragon lived with 4 hp.

Also, during the fight they attempted to claim that the dragon was brought by the heir. The townspeople cried out, "What?! What proof do you have!" The hunter, in his brazen dwarf manner, called back, "Obviously, he's here! And the dragon's here!" The people scoffed and said, "You're here too! So obviously YOU brought the dragon!" And then pelted him with vegetables.
How great was last night!


I bought a while and blue d20 for the dragon--I promised to give it to the player who killed the dragon, but I got to keep any player's d20 if I killed their character! Seemed like a good deal to me--but it did not work out--the players just rolled to well & my dragon died in less then three rounds!


I jumped right into the game--trying to shock the players out of the normal routine of Role Play and then Combat--I had them roll initiative IMMEDIATELY. I described the LH as having some mental battle going with the dragon & gave them a standard action.

The First two PCs moved around. The third Human Theif Harper Agent decided he was the Lost  Heir and tried to steal the crown--silly Thief...Dragon to Rampage!

But, and here is where things started to go badly for team evil, this did not work out--granting AO's [even with 5dr] at my table is just not a good idea--I think I took 75 points of damage during this attack and only hit two PC's. Just bad tactics on my part.

The Controllers then lit me up, with action points. LH did nothing but show boat for the crowd.

Dragon was getting some tail smack in, but I was quickly bloodied. That worked great, pushed one PC in the River & hit just about all the others! When my turn came around--claws dropped one PC, I forgot my action points and then I was back into the blender.

With Eight players at my table it seemed to last forever, but eventual it came back around--good breath weapon attack, I loved the Melee2 Bite [but I still missed], action point dropped the cleric, and then I cheated and used the Action Point I forgot the first round, but missed the defender again--my new die was not rolling all that well--I will stick to GameScience dice going foreword.

PC's moved in and finished me and the rest of the enounter played out fairly straight. I had Jarvy give the treasure badges, rather then the LH--for story reasons, Jarvy [who is a rastafarian halfling at my table] really hates neo-fascist New Neverwinter Gang--the badges will be used as identification to the local resistence.

 

Our party consisted of a 1/2 Elf Spring Druid who is a desert Rat Deserter
Elf Seeker Hybrid Cleric who is  noble and worshiper of Correlon
Dwarven Heir of Delzoun who is a Cleric of Torm
Revenant Chaos Sorcerer with a Spell Scar.
Eladrin Knight
Ungatart Barbarian Human Slayer

The Dragon Landed, and the Eladrin put his mini as close to the dragon as possible. I had it buffet him away and went on with the game. I ignored the allowing each player an action, I just went on with things a normal. The Seeker had the floor as usual (using his perecetion instead of INT is sick!). He dropped a Swarm of Bats, then Action Pointed with PILE IT ON and hit it with a Grapplying Spirits. So before it could do anything it was slowed and in Difficult terrian. The Dragon was only able to Rampage 1 square against the Eleadrin due to all the effects. The rest of the group took their actions and before it could even act it was already bloodied. In its turn it only had one target and double clawed into the Eladrin and CRITED twice! The poor gal did not know what hit her and she died at negative bloodied.

The heir moved in and marked the dragon. The Seeker then went again at top of the order and put another negative on the dragon. The Sorcerrer seing a wall of flesh between him and the dragon (the Dwarf, Druid, Slayer, and Wolf) moved up and cast his Daily missing and rolling nothing higher than a 2 on 6d6! The dragon was not locked down and Rampaged though the mass into the face of the sorcerrer. The slayer did some more damage and the Dragon finally got to take his 2nd real turn. He breathed and thanks to a bonus given by the Cleric, a Penalty from the Mark and Seeker he missed everyone. He then action pointed and dropped the slayer to 0 and tore at the wolf. The Druid spung into action healing the Slayer, and with the help of his wolf tore enough wounds into the dragon thus allowing the heir to mold its spell plagued enerigies turning it to stone. The crowed cheered for the heir as our party looked on having had all the glory taken by the heir.


So I ran a session of this and also played a PC in a different session. Here we go:

1. As a DM (DMs Only):

Show
The same group as I had last week (dwarf warpriest, eladrin bladesinger, dwarf slayer, elf thief) all came together to fight off the common threat. I used Icingdeath, and with the gargantuan base, his rampage was brutal.

The heroes tried to gang up on it, but it swept more than one away with its tail. With no defender, they had to rely on the Lost Heir to mark and keep attacking it. Numerous times, it could have breathed on the PCs, but it held off with its breath weapon until it could hit the Heir as well.

The dwarf priest was upset, because the dragon kept rampaging across the field and with his speed of 5 couldn't allow him to get to it. Finally, he readied his daily attack for when the dragon came up to him, and that worked out much better. He hit the creature, did good damage, and finally killed it. When the Lost Heir turned the dragon to stone, the PCs were in awe.

It went well.


2. As a PC (anyone can read):

Show
I ran a priest of Oghma (with the appropriate theme) who had not played with this particular team before (at d20 Games in Burien/Normandy Park here in the Northwest). Lucan was a half-elf scholar from Candlekeep, who was here in the city to do some research on the ancient ruins. No sooner did he arrive then chaos seemed to descend upon Neverwinter, and he took a wrong turn and found himself in a desperate fight with a dragon! As he'd never seen such a thing in real life, he immediately started a sketch on parchment prepared on the back of his shield. He was also very interested in the Lost Heir, particularly if he was legitimate, and started theorizing about the heredity he must have.

Then the dragon attacked, and it was time to put away the pen and pull out the mace.

Oghma's Nimbus of Holy Light helped a lot in the battle, protecting almost all of Lucan's newfound allies. Most of the dragon's fury fell on the dragonborn ranger, who dropped to a crit when he was at 13 hit points. We thought he was killed outright, but it turns out the DM had misadded and he had taken 1 less damage than necessary to take him to negative bloodied. The party's druid (as played by Gold_Piece here on the boards) revived the ranger, and Lucan added another healing word from Oghma's grace for good measure. The ranger popped back up and struck again, driving the wounded dragon back, only to be felled by opportunity attacks as it tried to escape. The Lost Heir cast a quick spell, and the creature became a statue.


I did want to note one thing which isn't very clear in the adventure (you can bring this up in session 3 if you like the concept): the badges the Lost Heir hands out have the classic Neverwinter symbol (the weeping purple eye, in amethyst stones). In case anyone doesn't know what I mean, here's a pic.

Cheers



Well I had the unique honoring of playing next to the adventure author, Erik Scott deBie.  I'm playing a human sentinel druid named Tarmina this season.  I like my character and having a bear as a companion is really fun.  Erik already covered the action at our table, so I only have my own character's observations to add.  As a Harper Agent, Tarmina is interested in learning more about Lord Neverember and the Lost Heir.  It's very important for the legitimate ruler of Neverwinter to be identified and brought to power.  Right now Tarmina has a hundred questions to be answered, so she can't wait for the chance to put her skills to use and help bring about peace and order. 
At our store (FCB comics and games, atlanta, ga), we had a table of 4 with one complete 4e newbie.  We had a knight, a thief, a mage, and a hunter.  No healing at all!  I thought the fight was really well done, it was pretty tough, but the heir helped to make it manageable. Our DM had one of the cowering merchants toss me a healing potion to help make up for the lack of healing, otherwise my knight would have died.  This is the forst season of encounters that I've been able to play in, other than an odd session here and there, and so far it's pretty cool! I DM a regular home group as well, and it's a measure of how interesting this story is that although I currently have absolutely no use for the Neverwinter book in my game, I am still tempted to buy it just to read about neverwinter.  Kudos!!
We had a well-rounded party:  slayer, hexblade, hunter, war priest and cavalier.  After watching the dragon land last week, they used the time to summon their courage and get right to the action.  

The hunter, a wily veteran of AD&D but who had been playing 4E for literally 12 minutes, started the fight off right with a 20 and an Immobilize, and then spent the rest of the encounter pincushioning the beast and hobbling it with Slows.  The cavalier was able to gain position at the rear of the dragon and his combination of fighting skill and clever tactics distracted his foe into frustrating flurries of misses.  The remainder of the party took turns charging in, inflicting grievous wounds in exchange for tail slaps and resigning themselves to enjoying the associated ride back out to the perimeter.  The Lost Heir blunted the worst of the breath weapon's icy blasts, though we never was able to land a blow himself.

For the dragon's part,  it started out hot on its first attack and tried to dispose of the cavalier with a 20.  Lashing out with claw, tail, breath weapon, and spellplague pyrotechnics it bloodied 3 other PCs (2 of them twice), but between party teamwork and the vigilance of their indomitable warpriest they all survived the encounter none the worse for wear.  

Of course the Lost Heir took full credit for the victory, which the bystanders were happy to give to him.

The dragon delivered as a threat and a relatively balanced encounter.  He was a real brute, absorbing and dishing out massive amounts of damage in sufficient quantity to generate both desperation in my players during the fight and a cheer after they ended it.  My only regrets are missing every attack with both action points, and not managing to knock anyone into the river =) 

INSIDE SCOOP, GAMERS: In the new version of D&D, it will no longer be "Edition Wars." It will be "Edition Lair Assault." - dungeonbastard

We had three packed tables this week - we probably should have had 4, but given the threat faced, having a largish party was probably a good idea (it's not easy to 'cut down' a solo encounter).

I didn't catch much of what happened at the other tables, but they both survived.  At my table, the fight was a little odd, with the Dragon's 'rampage' keeping it from getting static, the 'Heir' being a rather ambiguous character, and a bit of confusion around the table about what was really going on (white dragon, blue flame, crown, spellscars, etc it was a little much for some of us).  But, it wasn't too hard to figure out you want to fight the dragon.  The dragon was aproriately fearsom, the heir, not really all that impressive through most of the fight - and the 'kill steal' at the end /really/ did not impress, more annoy.  The fight would have been quicker and less white-knuckle if a lot of luck hadn't deserted us.  The first round or two, it seemed like no one hit - particularly our Bladesinger, who was lavished with buffs by the leaders: every time he crapped out, the offensive efforts of 3 characters came to nothing.  (Ironically, the player was using brand-new GameScience dice.)  Action points saw good use, though (no one had spent any in the prior battle), and the dice gods' favor swung back when one character did a one-in-a-million (OK, statisticially 1:400) crit, AP /daily/ CRIT.  If he'd been a striker, that'd've killed the dragon right there.  As it was, our strikers were up next, and there was nothing for the DM to do but invoke the Heir's weird kill-steal.

(I really liked that 'rampage' power, BTW.  It's a solid MM3/MV style Solo power, but, it's a move speed - not a freaky move X w/o OAs, like so many monsters have, that hoses both defenders and the slow condition.  Also, it doesn't do anything strange to the initiative chart - it's not an extra turn or anything.  The same can't be said of the /free action/ tail sweep, though - no flanking evarrr, good thing Theives don't really need flanking - I like the old immediate version better.)


Another thing I couldn't help but notice:  On Game Day, there were two encounters.  Some characters had - and used - dailies in one or the other of those encounters and had a big impact - other characters didn't (or had no dailies).   Then, the first chapter of Encounters turns out to be another two-encounter day, and, again, the daily-less characters are noticing the lack.   I don't suspect it'll be an issue for the rest of the season, since they're 4-encounter chapters, but I wonder if Encounters will ever feature a 6-encounter chapter? 

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

We finally had 3 tables at the Game Matrix (Yay!). Some players who'd been missing (marriage/honeymoon) returned and my wife ended up DMing the third table.

I'm always leary of Solo fights without some supplement for Team Monster and this proved no exception. I refrained from my normal tactical assistence to the newer players, rather adroitly (imho) steered Team Hero to use their standard actions prior to the dragon busting free on skill checks instead of attacks. A combination of some new players and some discrete rules bending on my part lead to a decent fight even if it lasted only 3 rounds (was able to rampage once as I allowed the dragon to stand up from prone on his rampage once). NPC Stu took some work to enable his killing blow and
Show
reducing the dragon's breath attack on almost the entire party
. At my wife's table, the party just attacked the Dragon while he was held by the Heir's power and butchered him like a cow. I didn't catch what happened at the third table but I expect it was fairly simaler. Everyone had fun though.
Looks like the Dragon was a hit indeed!

For the group I ran for, we had a larger group than normal, and it swelled to 7 players at a table.  The group has a Dragonborn Paladin,  drow executioner,  drow archer ranger,  tiefling hexblade (infernal), halfling rogue, elven bladesinger wizard, and... a kobold rogue.  The lack of a leader will hurt!
Secret adventure pulp
As the dragon landed and the heir tried to lock it down with a contest of wills I gave all the players a standard action, in order of their initiative bonuses.  They were all so wary of the dragon that they spread out to encirle it to a man.  No one paid the Heir much heed, and no one attacked it.   Once the Dragon broke free all hell broke loose.

The Dragon rolled a 20 for initiative, and to give the player a break I delayed its first Init+10 Instictive reaction untill later in the fight.  The dragon opened with a viscious set of claw attacks, only of which one hit.  The other rolled a "4".  The players swarmed the dragon, and quickly learned the err of their ways with a number of nasty tail slaps that denied many their attacks.

The group got smarter and hit the dragon from the 'front' and the 'side' using other abilities to try and grant CA.  The Lost Heir did his best to hit the dragon, but rolled a "4".  The dragon slashed at the tiefling hexblade for a blooded wound.  It then spent its AP and breathed.  At this point I honestly forget about the Lost Heirs ability to help shield people.  And it was a nasty breath for 16 points on many of the party.  The melee ensued as the PC's tool second winds and used what little healing they had from Fortune Cards (their lifeline) and the paladin.

The dragon soon was bloodied and and began to frenzy.  The tiefling was crit for 20+ points of damage and went down.  With many PC's bloodied, I modified the Lost Heir's abilitiy and when he was bloodied himself, sent a wave of healing power to all within 5 to regain 8 hp (the same amount they would have been shielded from.  I also took pity on the tiefling and gave him 2hp, as he was outside the 5.

The dragon went all out spending AP and charging about.  And got lots of "4's" on my dice.  Yes.  I hate the #4 now.  With a quick batch of 20's from the players the dragon last hp's were wittled away.
For cinematic reasons I never "bloodied" the massive beast.  Instead I described how its plaguechanged scars open and wepted more of the blueish napalm.  Their 'killing blows' effectively bloodied it as I put it.

When the Dragon was at '0' hp, I had the Lost Heir cry out, "Now my allies!  Attack it will all you have!  Hold the beast in place for me!"  And he began to channel an arcane spell.  I cried out in my best cheesy Power Ranger voice and took a ridiculous 'Arcane stance'.  The players loved it.
The battle ended with the Dragon turned into a permanent statue, a reminder of the Lost Heir, and heroes, valor to Neverwinter.
My report is up on my blog, but here it is as well in case anyone doesn't feel like swinging by the blog.


The evening started off when I heard a couple of the other dm's discussing short rests.  I told them about the skill challenge I had written and both were interested in trying it out.  Then after looking again at the Neverwinter Campaign Guide, I'm still debating with myself if I want to buy it or not. We head down stairs and got set up.

I made a few announcements including the upcoming Lair Assault, and Isles of Rot continuing this coming September.    It will be interesting to see how both of those combined with the school year effect  attendance at Encounters.

Tonight my table was missing a fighter and had gained a Bladesinger, otherwise it was the same group of players. 











Opening positions were based on where
people ended last session.

The bladesinger opted out of the skill challenge and called the dragons attention to her.  It gave the group their first success and her the dragons attention.  Another party member threw a stone at and tried to shout it down (he failed his intimidation roll) The groups thief Locke tried a different tactic and attempted to bluff the Dragon into believing a Gold Dragon, this also failed.  

At this the group was on the verge of failing the skill challenge.  The next 3 checks however were successful and they ended the challenge with a win.  An insight check gave them an idea of where the dragon was going next. And the clever use of Mage Hand distracted it with a lit sun rod. 

The Heir then did his thing with the dragon.  Sadly the battle of wills was short lived when the players took the opportunity to pile on some opening damage. Afterwards thanks to a poor initiative the Dragon's beat down continued.

The heir charged in shouting a valiant battle cry to the effect of "Never in my city!" Our new bladesinger rushed in as well and hit. Not keen on fighting 2 blades, the dragon turned and trampled over several party members.  The beasts claws dug deep into flesh as it moved.

Two dwarves both War priests were caught in the dragons trample.  Only 1 was able to still strike it.  Then the Drow Hunter who had taken a pounding the week before, this was able to stay at range and stay out of the dragons reach.  He was able to hit it consistently through out the combat.

Then it was time for some revenge on the part of the Dragon.  Most of the group was clumped together nicely, including the heir.  I described the breath weapon as looking like super hot blue flames. Then the players were surprised when it dished out the cold damage.  I rolled the damage and was grateful for some decent rolls.  The players look crushed when they heard the numbers.  Then I described the crown drawing in the energy of the blast and they were all very grateful for half damage.

As a DM I just wish we had a theifling in the party, that wood have made the surprise perfect.   In hopes of finishing off one of the dwarfs it double clawed as it was still smoldering.

The rest of the encounter was pretty much a slow-motion blur.  Most of the pc's had a hard time shaking of that effect.  One was stuck slowly rushing to heal the bladesinger. He'd used up his healing words already and had to give her a portion of healing he carried.  Besides of that the highlights include the dragon's trample attack that kept the players hoping and did account for a decent amount of damage and some repetitive hack & slash.  

  

The final moments of the combat could have flowed together better if I had hand scripted them.  A massive trample attack from the dragon knocked down several party members and the heir.  It even killed one of them.  This final attack was enough to bloody the heir.  It ended it's trample snarling at the halfling who stood two squares away.  The little halfling twirled his sling about and moved to a better position and let fly.  The stone hit him for the finishing blow.  All of that happened at the same time as the Heir was standing back up and starting his magic and turned the Dragon to stone. After the battle there was a brief exchange between the players in which the heir where he rewarded them and thanked them for their assistance. Then he left disappearing into the city.

I wanted to comment on one of our other tables as well. We have one table of really young (around 12ish) players.  They all came in as a group and like to play together.  A few of them were at my table for Gates of Neverdeath.  They didn't do all that well in the encounter. Out of a table of 6 only 2 survived and they had less then 10HP each.  What is really important about the table is how it ended. In the end the players who had died were still around the table.  They were excited for the survivors and cheering them on. It was great to see them that into the game and what was happening.

I was excited for this encounter and thought it would be a lot of fun. In the end I felt it was a bit of a let down.  Fighting a dragon is a great way to kick a campaign off, but you need to be invested in your characters to make it a real threat. The players, with the exception of those who played Gates of Neverdeath, were to new to the characters and had no real attachment to them.  I also felt that they needed more of a reason to be there and more importantly to stay an fight. I over heard the player of Locke comment about running away.



At my wife's table, the party just attacked the Dragon while he was held by the Heir's power and butchered him like a cow. I didn't catch what happened at the third table but I expect it was fairly simaler. Everyone had fun though.

You know the first attack is supposed to start the fight, right? The PCs shouldn't have been able all to attack without the dragon doing anything.

Still, I hope folks had a good time, regardless.

Cheers

I also felt that they needed more of a reason to be there and more importantly to stay an fight. I over heard the player of Locke comment about running away.




This is often a flaw for many groups/DMs in many regular campaigns.  For games like LFR and D&D Encounters I always caution my players that they need to have some reason to:
1)  Be part of the adventure
2)  Be friendly to the party (unless they have other player buy in for minor conflict)

Since tables can, and will, fluctuate its really up to the players to make sure they have buy in for the game.  Thats not to say the DM is powerless, I always try to offer advice and make minor story modifciations to make the PC's feel like part of the living world.  Minor story arcs with NPC's and Factions in Neverwinter make this setting and season perfect for the PC's to really be involved.

Lots of great posts all!  I hope we get some more, and can't wait until next weeks stories roll in!

At my wife's table, the party just attacked the Dragon while he was held by the Heir's power and butchered him like a cow. I didn't catch what happened at the third table but I expect it was fairly simaler. Everyone had fun though.

You know the first attack is supposed to start the fight, right? The PCs shouldn't have been able all to attack without the dragon doing anything.

Still, I hope folks had a good time, regardless.

Cheers




I could see this happening. The dragon only had an initiative bonus of 1. If the DM rolled low for the dragon's initiative (say 5 or lower) there's a good chance that every member of the party (and the heir) would have a turn before the dragon, perhaps even before his rampage. If they all rolled well on damage, and spent any action points they still had to attack him again, they could do quite a bit of damage to the dragon before he even got to take a turn. Add in any effects that keep him from rampaging (stunned, dominate) or could tie him down (immobilized, prone - anything other than the effects that he can shake off) and the dragon would be in a world of hurt. At the very least he would be very bloodied.

- Rico
The dragon is a brutal opponent, and a party without much control could get clobbered quick.  Surrounding it isn't the best option, due to both tail slash and it's ability to shift through people.  I'm not a big fan of the instinctive attack abilities in the first place, since they reduce dazing and stunning effects to preventing a big super attack, while leaving the dragon free to do whatever on it's turn.

At low level, however, a strange thing happens.  Effects like prone and slow are a lot more common than daze or stun, and, as it would happen, limiting the dragon's movement is far more effective anyways.  At my gaming store, one of the tables had a Hunter, and he basically trivialized the dragon by first immobilizing it, and then proning it every turn, completely foiling it's instinctive attack.

A party heavy on melee strikers that lacked control, however, would be in for a serious beatdown.  My own group lost the Defender in a single turn, as he got tail slapped on his turn for having the nerve to dare exploit flanking- and then got crit by the dragon on it's turn, reducing him to negative bloodied value.

This is pretty much a "wake-up call" boss, and one way or another, you'll find out if your character and/or group is tough enough after this battle.       
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
At low level, however, a strange thing happens.  Effects like prone and slow are a lot more common than daze or stun, and, as it would happen, limiting the dragon's movement is far more effective anyways.  At my gaming store, one of the tables had a Hunter, and he basically trivialized the dragon by first immobilizing it, and then proning it every turn, completely foiling it's instinctive attack.


The same thing happened at one of the tables at my store.
- Rico
My players learned a valuable lesson about playing without leaders last week, so this week I had two. The party consisted of:

Returning from last week:
- Dragonborn Knight 
- Human Scout
- Changeling Vampire (destroyed last week, but the player hadn't had the time to draw up a new PC and decided to try again.)
 
New this week:
- Drow Hunter (Belgos pregen, played other table last week)
- Warlord (former Monk)
- Sun Warpriest (former Slayer)

The PCs were victorious, but again, the Dragon managed to challenge them. I saved an action point for when the Dragon got bloodied, so after the bloodied burst attack, he fired off a recharged breath weapon and the double clawed the Warlord for a crit and a poor man's crit (rolling max damage anyway), which I reduced, because that would have been an instant kill on the battered Warlord.

Now, I realized after that I'd made a few mistakes and possibly some odd rulings. Definite mistakes/oversights were forgetting to coach the Knight that his aura let him fire off some reactive attacks, and for forgetting to prone PCs during the Dragon's rampage.

That said, I did allow the Rampage when the Dragon was prone. I simply had the Dragon crawl at half speed during his instinctive action. I'm not sure if that's valid or not. The Hunter and Scout both proned the Dragon regularly, so I wasn't sure if that was a good ruling or not. Kept the table exciting though. Both leaders ended up expending both of their healing spells, and again I got a lot of players to roll death saves. I think the Vampire player is convinced I'm out to get him, he got hit hard on the first rampage and then was saved from total annihilation from the Dragon's breath weapon by the Heir's crown before his first turn.
We were up to 4 (!!) tables this week at The Game Depot in Tempe, AZ.

My own table consisted of 3 players from last week and 2 new players (new to both 4e and Encounters, but experienced gamers in other systems).

From last week:

Dwarven Warpriest, Sun Domain (Heir of Delzoun)
Tiefling Hexblade, Infernal Pact (Devil Touched)
Tiefling Mage, Illusionist (Harper Agent)

New this week:

Half Orc Slayer
Eladrin Mage

The fight began with the Heir of Neverwinter locking the Dragon with a Contest of Wills to allow the people in the market a chance to flee to a safe distance and calling for our assistance as he could not hold the Dragon for long. 

Our PC's took our short rest while also spreading out to position ourselves around the dragon (so we could flank and get combat advantage).

The majority of the fight saw the 4 melee fighters playing a strange and brutal game of yo-yo, with the active PC trying to swing at the Dragon and the opposite PC providing the flanking bonus getting smacked by the Dragon's tail as a reaction, then having to move or charge back into position on their own turn. My DM couldn't miss with the tail smacks so that did the most damage to us, along with the Dragon exploding with fire when he got bloodied (ouch!).

With the party spread out and the 2 mages staying at distance, combined with some low rolls by the DM, the Dragon's rampage and breath weapon were not nearly as devastating as they could have been.

No characters went down this week, though the hexblade was knocked down to only 2 HP left and spent the last couple rounds staying at distance and using Eldritch Bolt instead, the Tiefling Mage inserted a Phantasmal Assault "Ogre" in his spot to try and keep the Dragon contained.

In the end, we managed to defeat the Dragon and the Heir turned it to stone right there in the middle of the market. He gave us badges and then took off, despite my PC questioning him as to how he aquired the crown (I played my PC in the Gameday adventure and worked hard to get that crown back after the red wizard stole it in the first place!).

A very fun encounter, I enjoyed seeing a fight against a single Solo creature after running the past 2 seasons as a DM and not having that oppurtunity. The combat seemed to flow very smoothly without the DM having to run multiple monsters on his turns.

Side note, the table next to us is running in "nightmare mode" and I think at least 3 PC's bit the dust (unconscious, not dead). So yay for us having better tactics!
One thing I find extremely interesting about all this is how different DMs portray the Heir--either as a legitimately heroic heir apparent or as a kill-stealing glory-hound. Either way is totally supported by the story.

Thanks for all your feedback, everyone!

Cheers
It is one of the things that makes D&D so great.  Video games are cool (love em!), but they can never do what a good group of friends can do with D&D!