Starting Reclaiming Blingdenstone (Playtest report)

Started Running Reclaiming Blingdenstone


PCs (all 1st level)
Human Fighter Protector/Jack of all Trades
Human Wizard Sage/Magic User
Human Cleric of Pelor Priest/Healer
Halfling Rogue/Thief + 3 chosen skills


For this playtest session (2 hours)  I gave the monsters +2 to hit like I did last time.   We really like the feel of that although it didn’t make a difference for fighting Ogremoch’s Bane.


Here’s what happened


The party walked into the Phatasmal Glamours area of the adventure and spoke with Henkala.   Lots of roleplaying.   Then they set off to find the Guild of Armorers and Weaponsmiths.   On the way, they walked through the Ruby in the Rough area and decided to go into the temple.  The cleric led the way and used his religious and diplomatic skills to speak with the Burrow Warden.   They told him they’d find the crown.  Still interested in the Ogremoch problem, the group continued to the Guild.  When they got there, the Wizard was able to figure out what the mysterious vanishing creature was (the Pech).   The group decided to coax it out and speak with it.  While they were speaking with it (finding out more about Ogremoch’s Bane) the little fellow became startled.  He looked behind himself and then melded right into a nearby stone wall.  The party braced themselves and sure enough, a party of 4 orcs attacked from the tunnels to the north.


The orc battle was quick.  None of the PCs used any spells other than cantrips, and the fighter was able to use his parry to ward off damage from one blow.  (3 orcs attacked immediately.  1 stayed back and waited for 1 round).   After they took care of the orcs, the rogue turned over their bodies and found some silver, but little else.  Then they continued their discussion with the Pech.   The Pechs told them that they could help defeat Orgremoch, but they needed assurance from the Deep Gnomes that the Deep Gnomes would not over build and would co-exist with the Pechs.   The party said they would speak with Henkala, and they trudged back to the Phantasmal Glamours.  More roleplaying.  Henkala asked the party to tell the Pechs that she could vouch for the Deep Gnomes, and she also lent the fighter a +1 battleaxe to use against Ogremoch’s Bane.  (The hand axe wasn’t manly enough).   The party was able to get the Pech’s to come with them to confront the Bane.


At first, the party tried to parlay with the Bane.   The Bane tried to get them to help him destroy the Boon, but the party would hear none of that.   They signaled the Pech’s to put up the protective circle, and they readied for battle.  The party outscored Ogremoch’s Bane in initiative (everyone beat the whirling rock and dust creature).   They let lose their barrage of spells (burning hands, searing light), the rogue hid (and prepared to sneak attack with a bottle of holy water – he learned that holy weapons might hurt the Bane, so he asked the Cleric for 3 bottles).  The fighter with magical axe, stepped out of the circle to attack, and was batted by flying debris.  He put up his shield to parry saving himself 6 out of 8 points of damage.   I let the Bane attack the shield.  I had decided that if he rolled an 18, 19 or 20, the Pechs would stumble and he would be able to deal 1d4+1 damage to everyone inside the shield.   Lo and behold, he rolled a 19 on his first attack.  The Wizard was bloodied, the rogue and cleric were noticeably wounded.  The fighter took the damage and got angry.   To make a long story short, the fight went on for 5 rounds.   The Bane never rolled another 18, 19 or 20.   He did however injure the fighter, who needed the Cleric to use Divine Channel healing on him.   In the end, both spellcasters used all of their spell slots, and after the fight, the rogue and the wizard needed to use their HD of healing.   They went back to Henkala, and she gave them 3 healing potions, and the gem, and gifted the battleaxe to the fighter.   After this, they all leveled up to 2nd level.


Comments


The players really liked the game.  It was roleplaying heavy.   We did have 1 minor combat and 1 major combat in 2 hours so there was a nice mix.


The characters felt good, and now the players are getting used to them.   One thing we noticed is that the Wizard decided to prepare 3x burning hands.   That spell may be more desirable (although with his new level, he learned charm person, cause fear and ray of enfeeblement…so maybe now he’ll diversify).


The only negative I have as DM is about the way the adventure was organized.   It was difficult to find the “read aloud” text.  Often I found that in the descriptions that were not marked for reading aloud, there were some nice pieces of description or information that the PCs could use, and in the read aloud there wasn’t as much as I needed.   Usually, I run my own homebrew games so I don’t need to rely on the text, but since I wanted to run the adventure using the descriptive text, I had a more difficult time with it.   Also, since the initial meetings and place descriptions come first, then each adventure continues later in the packet, I often had to jump back and forth…making my head spin a bit.   Also, as you can see from my game recap above, I decided to give Ogremoch’s Bane a chance to get through the Pech’s shield temporarily by making an attack roll each round.  I think that really made the encounter much more frightening for the players.


The wizard player is really looking forward to Wizard Traditions.  Next round we will run 2nd level and 3rd level to see how it feels.   Hopefully we’ll get through all 5 levels by the time the next package is released.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

Good report, and I really like what you did with the Ogremoch's Bane. 

We had a similar first session but our DM played the OB as listed.  I was playing and I remember thinking through the whole encounter that the OB was probably reducing the effectiveness of the Pech's shield with every hit and it was going to collapse at any minute.  It was tense until I realized that wasn't going to happen and it was basically a guarenteed win.  It took all the fun out of it.
Other comments I have:

At first (a couple of sessions ago), I thought that Combat Superiority was too powerful, but when I give monsters the +2 to hit, it seems to work better for us. 

Having so many Lore skills is a little confusing.   More than 1 time in the last game, we had to break character to discuss which lore would be relevant for a specific check.  I think the Lore skills should fall into larger categories if possible.    I ended up telling players, don't worry...just roll your Intelligence check...forget about Lore (unless it was obvious how to apply it).

The rogue PC really slinks around like a rogue should.  Against the larger opponent, he spent alternate actions to hide then sneak attack, and he did it willingly without complaint.    As for the "take 10" plus bonuses for all trained skills, if the roll is a check (not a contest) I will ask the player to roll a d20 anyway even if he would succeed automatically.   If he rolls a natural "1", I add a complicaton.   This little change adds a lot of tension, but it isn't a huge nerf of the ability.

We are really loving "theater of the mind" again.   Most of our combats can be resolved that way, but I'm glad that we can use a grid if we want to do so.

That's it for now.      


           

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

Wow, that was a very nice outline of what happened and I appreciate the insight into what to look for.  I think making that falter in the protective shield was a genius move since that would cause the players to understand the level on danger they are in if they were to mess up.  That is why I intend to use Talabrina in that fight if they get to it before her so that they understand they cannot just dink around all safe and sound.

This Saturday we go there...let's hope they survive. 
Awesome stuff, as usual, Rhen.

I really rely on my 4E experience with Lore as a default on its use.  Unfortunately, not everyone using the playtest packet will that that experience to fall back on, so they could use more clarity and even some reworking of those particular skills going forward.

Glad to hear that the +2 helped you all... but for Combat Superiority, not sure how it applies.   +2 on To-Hit won't stop that Deadly Strike... nor will it deflect more damage from the Parry, but I suppose it will at least mean they'll have a better chance of needing to use that Parry, so there's that.

I still wonder if they shouldn't touch CS down a bit (I suggest 1d4 to start) as you suggested a while back just to keep it useful but not necessarily dominate.
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