Encounter Design: The Wart Mother Cometh (Spoilers)

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The Premise: The PCs, a group of survivors washed ashore following an unfortunate incident involving ships loaded down with black powder and a haphazardly-thrown burning match, have done well for themselves. Weighted down with the wealth of many kingdoms, they have made a deal with the leader of the sole remaining ship, Captain Burrp of The Crapaud, and his bullywug pirate lackeys. In exchange for rescuing his "daughter" - a human girl named Hansa - and offering up riches a toad like Burrp could only dream of, the PCs and the bullywug pirates have a tenuous alliance. Incensed by his sudden turn, the Oracle of Ribbit - the emissary of the tiny frog warriors known as grippli - tried to threaten Burrp into keeping his new alliance with the grippli against the PCs, who had slaughtered a grippli hunting party in the jungle. Hostilities broke out as Burrp sided with the PCs... and then that's when the Wart Mother made her presence known.

The Map: Link. The Wart Mother and 5 grippli are just beyond the treeline in the southwest corner of the map. Features of the Area as follows
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Bushes, Campfire, Jungle, Rubble, Seaweed: Difficult terrain. Bushes provide cover to creatures in that square. If a creature ends its turn in the campfire, it takes 5 fire damage. If it ends its turn on seaweed, it falls into the water. The jungle is considered heavily obscured terrain. A creature has total concealment when it is in a heavily obscured square, although it has only partial concealment against an enemy adjacent to it.
Foxhole: Creatures in a fox hole gain superior cover. It can fit 2 Medium-sized creatures.
Pond: 10 feet deep fresh water. It’s a DC 10 to swim.
Skiff: Each of these skiffs provides cover and can hold up to 6 passengers. Four creatures are required to move them when on land.
Tents: Blocking terrain. A tent can be knocked down with a DC 10 Strength check.
Trees: Trees are as tall as they are wide and require a DC 15 Athletics check to climb. Trees provide cover.
Water: Two squares from the shore, the water is shallow for a Medium-sized creature and is difficult terrain. Beyond that point, creatures are swimming which requires a DC 15 Athletics check.


The Monsters (9th-level encounter): The Wart Mother, The Oracle of Ribbit, and at least 15 grippli hunters. Stat blocks link. General tactics
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will be to hold The Wart Mother back a bit until it's particularly advantageous for her to enter the camp. Until then, she's going to generate and send waves of grippli hunters in to soften up the PCs and threaten their new allies (see below). The Oracle of Ribbit, poorly placed sod that he is, will do his best not to die in the first round. The Wart Mother isn't terribly bright and might fight to the death in pursuit of tasty morsels. The grippli might not let that happen though if they can get her to leave. Escape route would likely be via the water.


The PCs (5th-level): Kittra (halfling hexblade), Dargan (dragonborn barbarian), James Malicky and Berovice (pixie shaman and his spirit), and one more PC tbd.

The Allies: I wanted to try something a little different here, so this is the main area where I'm seeking advice (though please comment, critique, or add to anything else as well). Given the complexity of the situation the players set up through shared storytelling, there are a lot of dudes on the map. I'm certainly not up for playing all those different monsters and in so great a number during the fight. It'll just make things longer and more ponderous. So I've grouped the allies into four - all the juju zombie musketeers, all the bullywug pirates, Captain Burrp by himself, and Hansa by herself - and made them into "terrain powers." They are represented as pogs on the map (minis), but they aren't "creatures" in any mechanical sense, except where a power might make sense to apply. We can handle that on a case-by-base.

Each of these "terrain power pogs" can take three hits or "strikes" before they are removed from play. A strike will happen if at the end of the round any enemy is adjacent to the terrain power pog. There is no effect if they have one strike. When they get to two strikes, there is a complication (see below). So here are the "terrain powers":

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DISTRACTING CROAK (Bullywug Pirates)
The belches and croaks of the bullywugs drive frog-creatures to distraction.
Variable Action*
Check: Bluff, Intimidate, Nature (DC 22 – minor, DC 19 – move, DC 15 – standard)
Special: This power can only be used once per round. You must be adjacent to the bullywug pirates.
Success: The bullywug pirates distract the target with a cacophony of croaking.
Target: All enemies in a close burst 5
Effect: The target grants combat advantage until the end of your next turn. The bullywug pirates can slide 2 squares before or after the attack.

INCOMING! (Captain Burrp)
After Burrp belches loudly, you try to signal The Crapaud to fire at targets on the beach.
Variable Action*
Check: Acrobatics, Arcana, Perception (DC 22 – minor, DC 19 – move, DC 15 – standard)
Special: This power can only be used once per round. You must be adjacent Captain Burrp and to the shoreline.
Success: The Crapaud fires its cannons!
Target: Each creature in an area burst 1 centered anywhere on the map
Attack: +8 vs. Reflex
Hit: 2d6 + 12 fire damage and the target is pushed to a square outside of the burst and knocked prone.
Miss: Half damage.
Effect: Captain Burrp can slide 2 squares before or after the attack.

INNOCENCE OF YOUTH (Hansa)
The sweet presence of Hansa is enough to remind you what you’re fighting for. Oh, and loot.
Trigger: You start your turn next to Hansa
Target: Personal
Effect: You can spend a healing surge. Hansa can slide 2 squares.
Special: This power can only be used once per round.

MAKE READY! (Juju Zombie Musketeers)
With a fervent command, you order the juju zombie musketeers to focus fire on an area.
Variable Action*
Check: Diplomacy, History, or Intimidate (DC 22 – minor, DC 19 – move, DC 15 – standard)
Special: This power can only be used once per round. You must be adjacent to the juju zombies.
Success: The juju zombie musketeers fire a volley as you command.
Target: Each creature in an area burst 1 within 10
Attack: +8 vs. Reflex
Hit: 2d6 + 9 damage.
Miss: Half damage.
Effect: The juju zombies can slide 2 squares before or after the attack.


Here are the "strike two" complications:

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TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN! (Bullywug Pirates): The bullywug pirates slide to a square adjacent to the treasure (marked on map). On the next round, they slide to a square adjacent to a skiff (marked on the map). On the next round, they are gone. During this complication, the bullywug pirates treat all creatures (including other terrain powers) as enemies.

DANGER CLOSE! (Captain Burrp): Captain Burrp accidentally signals The Crapaud which fires and hits the munitions tent. Attack/damage as per "Incoming!" but a close burst 3 from the munitions tent.

FLY, LITTLE BIRD! (Hansa): Hansa flees. She slides to the edge of the jungle. If there are no allies next to her by the end of the following round, she escapes and hides in the jungle. 

FRIENDLY FIRE! (Juju Zombie Musketeers): Oops - while trying to fend off grippli attacks, the juju zombie muskteers fire a volley (Make Ready!), centered on the nearest PC in range.


What do you think? Fun? Challenging? What changes would you make?

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Overall, awesome.

For terrain powers that require a skill check, I would change them to not also require an attack roll. Downgrade the damage if necessary to account for the "auto-hit" (ish) nature.

Reason -- as a PC, I really hate when I go out of my way to do something cool, i.e. make a Skill Check to use a Terrain power, and then I have to make attack rolls and the dice hate me and make me miss. That causes me to feel like I wasted my turn and should have just used my own attack power. 
Overall, awesome.

For terrain powers that require a skill check, I would change them to not also require an attack roll. Downgrade the damage if necessary to account for the "auto-hit" (ish) nature.

Reason -- as a PC, I really hate when I go out of my way to do something cool, i.e. make a Skill Check to use a Terrain power, and then I have to make attack rolls and the dice hate me and make me miss. That causes me to feel like I wasted my turn and should have just used my own attack power. 



Thanks. You know, I thought about that for the same reasons. I thought the sliding scale on action cost would balance that out since you can make it a move or minor, albeit with a higher DC. Not enough?

If I go with "auto-hit," what would you set the damage at? Because I'm thinking it might be even more expedient if it's static damage since it's likely the PCs will be using them to kill minions more than anything. 

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In my experience, players hate using their actions to do anything other than use their PCs' powers.

You could have the coolest terrain power in the world, but unless you've got the right sort of players, it's going to be ignored.

So I would just make the terrain powers into minor actions, Move actions at most, that deal static damage. I would set it to whatever the appropriate minion damage is for this level (so, level 9 --> half of 9+8 = about 8 damage, maybe round up to 10).

A minor action that automatically does 10 damage is probably sexy enough to get the PCs to use it.   
Might as well specify fire damage for the fire, obvious though it is.

Characters who enter a foxhole square must immediately choose and declare a deity to worship, unless they do already. They worship that deity at least until they exit the foxhole square.

What kind of action to knock over a tent?

I like that rule of thumb for tree height. I wonder how closely it follows, or what the formula is for other kinds of trees.

Pick a different goal for the Wart Mother than fighting to the death. Eating any mobile zombie, maybe.

Specify where the burst for INCOMING! can be centered.

I like that the power pogs "slide," during the complications.

Looks fun. Looks like a lot to keep track of though and, honestly, if the monsters in that encounter are not massively overpowered then I would bet that the characters wouldn't use those terrain powers at all. Even if the monsters are, they might not think to use them until it's too late. What are your plans for failure?

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

In my experience, players hate using their actions to do anything other than use their PCs' powers.

You could have the coolest terrain power in the world, but unless you've got the right sort of players, it's going to be ignored.

So I would just make the terrain powers into minor actions, Move actions at most, that deal static damage. I would set it to whatever the appropriate minion damage is for this level (so, level 9 --> half of 9+8 = about 8 damage, maybe round up to 10).

A minor action that automatically does 10 damage is probably sexy enough to get the PCs to use it.   



Yeah, I was thinking 10 damage was fair and incentive enough. I so want to use that sliding action cost mechanic since seeing it on these forums, too. I think it's clever.

But you're right, I don't really know these particular players all that well, so I can't say if they'd be inclined to use the terrain powers at all. It wouldn't bother me if they didn't since I still get my fun complications if they completely ignore them. Still, it's be nice to see them made useful.

I'm inclined to change the powers as you say unless anyone can convince me otherwise, so I'll hold off on that edit until I get some other commentary. 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Characters who enter a foxhole square must immediately choose and declare a deity to worship, unless they do already. They worship that deity at least until they exit the foxhole square.

Oh man, that's one of the funniest things I've read in a long while.

Characters who enter a foxhole square must immediately choose and declare a deity to worship, unless they do already. They worship that deity at least until they exit the foxhole square.



Oh man, that's one of the funniest things I've read in a long while.



Hilarious. In my actual "Features of the Area," I have it written, "You see no atheists here." (I post Features of the Area in text chat for reference during the game.) I took it out in case it was offensive here on the forums, but whatever. People get offended at all kinds of things I say regardless of topic.

Funny to see we were thinking the same thing, heh. Thanks for the additional edits. I will address the easy stuff and think about the hard stuff and post later.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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In my experience, players hate using their actions to do anything other than use their PCs' powers.

You could have the coolest terrain power in the world, but unless you've got the right sort of players, it's going to be ignored.

So I would just make the terrain powers into minor actions, Move actions at most, that deal static damage. I would set it to whatever the appropriate minion damage is for this level (so, level 9 --> half of 9+8 = about 8 damage, maybe round up to 10).

A minor action that automatically does 10 damage is probably sexy enough to get the PCs to use it.   



Where would you set the DC for these terrain powers, assuming minor action, no roll to hit, and static damage as we've discussed? DCs I have listed in the powers are exactly high, medium, low for 5th-level (for reference).

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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If you want the players to use the terrain powers, don't require a roll at all. Just let them expend a minor action to do the thing.

Once you require a roll, you want to have some interesting consequences for failure (otherwise why bother asking for a roll?). And "interesting" has to mean something other than a penalty (like the PC falling prone or dazing himself), or you're right back to the players not wanting to risk using the terrain power.

Given that your PCs are 5th level (not sure where I got 9th) I might downgrade the auto-damage to 5. But 5 is psychologically not very sex (even though it kills minions). 10 is a lot sexier because of the double digits.   
5 points of auto-damage at heroic is pretty tasty for a minor, IMHO. I don't know hexblades very well, but barbarians don't generally have much to do with a minor action. Shaman are a little more iffy - depends on whether healing is needed or if they need to summon their SC.

At their level, they only have one utility from 2nd level, and only the dragonborn has a minor action racial that's worthwhile. So 5 points of autodamage is pretty nice.


My biggest recommendation is to find a way to communicate the terrain powers clearly. I do face to face gaming, so I would make crib sheets or cards for the players. I believe you do mostly online, so maybe their tokens can have mouseover text or something....I don't know the interface that well, but you get the idea.

The reason I say that is that terrain powers are always new to players, since they change on an encounter basis in general, so they don't think to use them unless its right in front of their face.
If you want the players to use the terrain powers, don't require a roll at all. Just let them expend a minor action to do the thing.

Once you require a roll, you want to have some interesting consequences for failure (otherwise why bother asking for a roll?). And "interesting" has to mean something other than a penalty (like the PC falling prone or dazing himself), or you're right back to the players not wanting to risk using the terrain power.



I had considered originally doing "relative success" skill checks DW style, i.e. high roll is success, middling roll is success with a cost, low roll is succeed or fail with cost. But I thought it just might be confusing.

I'm going to have to give this some thought. For reasons I can't explain at the moment, I feel like there should be a check of some kind. My philosophy is if I can't explain my "feeling" about something, it needs further examination.

My biggest recommendation is to find a way to communicate the terrain powers clearly. I do face to face gaming, so I would make crib sheets or cards for the players. I believe you do mostly online, so maybe their tokens can have mouseover text or something....I don't know the interface that well, but you get the idea.



Yeah, they'll have this available in text format, clearly spelled out prior to the game. I tend to be very transparent about a lot of stuff I do.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Might as well specify fire damage for the fire, obvious though it is.

Specify where the burst for INCOMING! can be centered.



Fixed.

What kind of action to knock over a tent?



I think I'd just rule that at the moment depending on the fiction.

Pick a different goal for the Wart Mother than fighting to the death. Eating any mobile zombie, maybe.



Her motivation as I have it written is: To consume.

I was entering design mode with the mindset of Lair Assault, perhaps not so much in terms of "gamebreaking" but in terms of going for broke. I'm not married to the notion though. Ideas?

Looks fun. Looks like a lot to keep track of though and, honestly, if the monsters in that encounter are not massively overpowered then I would bet that the characters wouldn't use those terrain powers at all. Even if the monsters are, they might not think to use them until it's too late. What are your plans for failure?



Thanks. I bet the monsters are just overpowered enough for this group. They aren't great at dealing with minions, even when I clump. Dargan's shotgun is about the most controllerish thing they got as far as dealing with minions. Although, we do have one more player joining the group:

"Ok boys...say hello to Sapo, first mate of the Crapaud, a bullywug hunter/seeker/outlaw who has a hunting rifle (superior crossbow) strung across his back, a whip at his side(for maintaining order on the ship) and a dagger in his boot."

As it's a one-shot and in light of other stuff, my hope is that it wraps this session. So if it ends in the bottom of the Wart Mother's stomach - then it were a cautionary tale of unbridled greed gone horribly wrong, I tells ya. But I'm definitely open to suggestions. 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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If you want the players to use the terrain powers, don't require a roll at all. Just let them expend a minor action to do the thing.

Once you require a roll, you want to have some interesting consequences for failure (otherwise why bother asking for a roll?). And "interesting" has to mean something other than a penalty (like the PC falling prone or dazing himself), or you're right back to the players not wanting to risk using the terrain power.

Given that your PCs are 5th level (not sure where I got 9th) I might downgrade the auto-damage to 5. But 5 is psychologically not very sex (even though it kills minions). 10 is a lot sexier because of the double digits.   



Dammit. Your post has me thinking. I know these are niggling details in the grand scheme, but there's always that need to get the most elegant mechanic possible, right? (For me at least, sometimes. Too much time on my hands tonight.)

If I'm going to break down my goals, it would include encouraging the players to play with the terrain powers. I figure the strike-two complications are going to cause the PCs to interact with the terrain power "pogs" one way or another, so that's taken care of. I gather my other goals are to provide a good excuse to make skill checks and to make the transaction as simple as possible.

So I think I'm going to go with minor action with a skill check, no attack rolls, static damage. I think it will be 5 damage for Make Ready and 10 damage for Incoming. Then I'll make the munitions tent explosion like 20 damage or a roll. Thoughts?

EDIT: I am still unsettled by having a skill check with no interesting failure though. Those are already built into the game enough IMO. I'm just not sure I need or want the additional complexity unless somebody has some nifty ideas.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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While it probably doesn't mean much in the long run, you could shorten the mechanical instructions of the Swallow attack for the Wart Mother by removing the stunned condition and replace it with the removed from game condition. The condition was properly defined in the Rules Compendium, and more or less does the same thing for the attack as the stunned condition and the targeting clause.

Aside from that, very nice on all the monsters. Well thought out and cohesive mechanics all around

I am still unsettled by having a skill check with no interesting failure though. Those are already built into the game enough IMO. I'm just not sure I need or want the additional complexity unless somebody has some nifty ideas.



The loss of an action is sometimes bad enough, and complicating it further may disuade PCs from using it more than once or so without reason for a better result. Minor actions at level 5 are often better spent on utilities or secondary effects for a daily and the like (or in the case of the Shaman, callin' the spirit companion out).

Stick with keeping it a single minor action use, but I'd also keep the idea of varying difficulty degree, with a hard DC affording a better results or better damage than a normal or easy DC check would. The loss of an action is bad enough on a miss, but I might give the terrain powers a sort of miss line that still lets the PCs get something out of it. I probably wouldn't make them do damage in the case of the two that do, but maybe a minor effect that's just as helpful, such as the area around or neer the musketeers being lightly obscured by smoke from their rifles for a moment or two on a miss. A PC could at least try to use that partial concealment to their advantage, and their action wouldn't be so wasted even if they don't hit their target. Perhaps work these sorts of effects into some of the success degrees of the terrain powers themselves so as to offer full usage options. Vanilla CA or area damage is nice, but sweeten the deal with a bit more and the PCs would probably love using those things.

Also, just a nitpick, but there's really no usage difference with the Musketeers from the ship cannon both being area bursts. Try a multi target ranged attack or a close blast for the musketeers to make their use different from the cannon for something besides the damage they output.

Hope this helps. Happy Gaming
While it probably doesn't mean much in the long run, you could shorten the mechanical instructions of the Swallow attack for the Wart Mother by removing the stunned condition and replace it with the removed from game condition. The condition was properly defined in the Rules Compendium, and more or less does the same thing for the attack as the stunned condition and the targeting clause.



I like that and will change it. I was a little angsty over the stunned/OG 10 on that. One failed save probably means way bloodied and with no actions to be able to do anything to mitigate, it could go badly in an unsatisfying way. Maybe I'll stick 10 damage on the "back end" as an aftereffect that follows a successful save against the removed from play condition.

Aside from that, very nice on all the monsters. Well thought out and cohesive mechanics all around



Thanks! We'll be putting that to the test in less than 3 hours...

The loss of an action is sometimes bad enough, and complicating it further may disuade PCs from using it more than once or so without reason for a better result. Minor actions at level 5 are often better spent on utilities or secondary effects for a daily and the like (or in the case of the Shaman, callin' the spirit companion out).

Stick with keeping it a single minor action use, but I'd also keep the idea of varying difficulty degree, with a hard DC affording a better results or better damage than a normal or easy DC check would. The loss of an action is bad enough on a miss, but I might give the terrain powers a sort of miss line that still lets the PCs get something out of it. I probably wouldn't make them do damage in the case of the two that do, but maybe a minor effect that's just as helpful, such as the area around or neer the musketeers being lightly obscured by smoke from their rifles for a moment or two on a miss. A PC could at least try to use that partial concealment to their advantage, and their action wouldn't be so wasted even if they don't hit their target. Perhaps work these sorts of effects into some of the success degrees of the terrain powers themselves so as to offer full usage options. Vanilla CA or area damage is nice, but sweeten the deal with a bit more and the PCs would probably love using those things.



Good ideas. Perhaps minor to activate with a low to mod DC and a bump in efficacy if they roll high. I like that. I have it written already that the terrain power pogs can slide after the "attack" or "effect" so perhaps you get that even if you fail. Keeping the terrain power pogs non-adjacent to enemies would be a goal so even if you don't get the damage, that's helpful in avoiding complications. 

Also, just a nitpick, but there's really no usage difference with the Musketeers from the ship cannon both being area bursts. Try a multi target ranged attack or a close blast for the musketeers to make their use different from the cannon for something besides the damage they output.



True. How about musketeers target "one, two, or three enemies within 10" and the ship stays an area burst?

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While it probably doesn't mean much in the long run, you could shorten the mechanical instructions of the Swallow attack for the Wart Mother by removing the stunned condition and replace it with the removed from game condition. The condition was properly defined in the Rules Compendium, and more or less does the same thing for the attack as the stunned condition and the targeting clause.



I like that and will change it. I was a little angsty over the stunned/OG 10 on that. One failed save probably means way bloodied and with no actions to be able to do anything to mitigate, it could go badly in an unsatisfying way. Maybe I'll stick 10 damage on the "back end" as an aftereffect that follows a successful save against the removed from play condition.



The damage isn't too bad as part of the effect. Other monsters do similar things. If the damage still seems a bit much for ya, reduce it to ongoing 5. That should be enough. Though, taking a second look at the power, it should be a recharge power instead of an at will. Make the recharge clause "when no creature is removed from play by this power". An at will minor that removes PCs from play is just silly XD

Also, just a nitpick, but there's really no usage difference with the Musketeers from the ship cannon both being area bursts. Try a multi target ranged attack or a close blast for the musketeers to make their use different from the cannon for something besides the damage they output.



True. How about musketeers target "one, two, or three enemies within 10" and the ship stays an area burst?



That would work just fine I think.
The damage isn't too bad as part of the effect. Other monsters do similar things. If the damage still seems a bit much for ya, reduce it to ongoing 5. That should be enough. Though, taking a second look at the power, it should be a recharge power instead of an at will. Make the recharge clause "when no creature is removed from play by this power". An at will minor that removes PCs from play is just silly XD



OG 5 would make me feel better, but I'm okay with no additional damage at all. I'd note that the Wart Mother needs to have had immobilized the target before she can swallow, so it's not like she can do that all the time. (Basically have to hit with bite first as a standard.)

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

The damage isn't too bad as part of the effect. Other monsters do similar things. If the damage still seems a bit much for ya, reduce it to ongoing 5. That should be enough. Though, taking a second look at the power, it should be a recharge power instead of an at will. Make the recharge clause "when no creature is removed from play by this power". An at will minor that removes PCs from play is just silly XD

OG 5 would make me feel better, but I'm okay with no additional damage at all. I'd note that the Wart Mother needs to have had immobilized the target before she can swallow, so it's not like she can do that all the time. (Basically have to hit with bite first as a standard.)



This encounter looks great and it's in my player's level range. Swiping it for an appropriate moment :D Two things I would change myself to make the Wart mother more effective/interesting:

1) Instead of making the target of Swallow be stunned or removed from play, I would use the following: "Hit: The target is swallowed by the Wart Mother (save ends). While swallowed, the target takes 10 damage at the start of his or her turn and does not have line of sight or effect to anything else besides the Wart Mother."
This allows the player to still attack and be effective (and potentially create some kind of awesome Wart Mother vomiting and/or exploding), while still making sure noone else can attack him or help him (with the normal use of powers and/or abilities; being creative with Standard Action skills is of course highly encouraged).
Alternatively, because sometimes character make too many saves or are able to save too efficiently, you could use the 'escape DC 19' condition instead of 'save ends', allowing the player to make an Athletics or Acrobatics check as a move action to escape. I like this better because it's more thematic.

2) At the moment, only the Wart Mother can immobilize targets. It's a minor action, so maybe this is less necessary, but it could leave her without targets for swallow very quickly. Consider allowing the minions to immobilize as well, if two or more minions hit the same target in the same round with their poison attack. It's not as nasty as a per-hit immobilize, but it's thematic (more poison slows you down more) and gives the minions some more synergy with the Wart Mother. It would make sense that they would not only defend their mother, but also prepare her supper for her.
Heroic Dungeon Master
1) Instead of making the target of Swallow be stunned or removed from play, I would use the following: "Hit: The target is swallowed by the Wart Mother (save ends). While swallowed, the target takes 10 damage at the start of his or her turn and does not have line of sight or effect to anything else besides the Wart Mother."
This allows the player to still attack and be effective (and potentially create some kind of awesome Wart Mother vomiting and/or exploding), while still making sure noone else can attack him or help him (with the normal use of powers and/or abilities; being creative with Standard Action skills is of course highly encouraged).

Alternatively, because sometimes character make too many saves or are able to save too efficiently, you could use the 'escape DC 19' condition instead of 'save ends', allowing the player to make an Athletics or Acrobatics check as a move action to escape. I like this better because it's more thematic.



I like these ideas better myself. Kudos to you good sir
This encounter looks great and it's in my player's level range. Swiping it for an appropriate moment :D Two things I would change myself to make the Wart mother more effective/interesting:

1) Instead of making the target of Swallow be stunned or removed from play, I would use the following: "Hit: The target is swallowed by the Wart Mother (save ends). While swallowed, the target takes 10 damage at the start of his or her turn and does not have line of sight or effect to anything else besides the Wart Mother."
This allows the player to still attack and be effective (and potentially create some kind of awesome Wart Mother vomiting and/or exploding), while still making sure noone else can attack him or help him (with the normal use of powers and/or abilities; being creative with Standard Action skills is of course highly encouraged).
Alternatively, because sometimes character make too many saves or are able to save too efficiently, you could use the 'escape DC 19' condition instead of 'save ends', allowing the player to make an Athletics or Acrobatics check as a move action to escape. I like this better because it's more thematic.

2) At the moment, only the Wart Mother can immobilize targets. It's a minor action, so maybe this is less necessary, but it could leave her without targets for swallow very quickly. Consider allowing the minions to immobilize as well, if two or more minions hit the same target in the same round with their poison attack. It's not as nasty as a per-hit immobilize, but it's thematic (more poison slows you down more) and gives the minions some more synergy with the Wart Mother. It would make sense that they would not only defend their mother, but also prepare her supper for her.



Both great ideas. I'd have liked to use them both, especially the first one. I ended up going "removed from play" with it, but wasn't so happy with the result. I did engage the player on his turn with questions and whatnot. Still, being able to do at least escape actions would have been preferrable.

I can break it down some later, but I did drop 2 PCs, another was swallowed for a while, took down the shaman's spirit (I know, no big, but it was dramatic), blew up the munitions tent (this took down one of the PCs), Hansa got hit and fled into the jungle (which set up the next chain of events), and the bullywugs stole the treasure. The PCs managed to intimidate the bullywugs into standing down after the fight before they got away in the boats. The timing worked out just so. I think the fight clocked in at about an hour. Good challenge, lots of great lines, tactics, and plans. The Oracle of Ribbit was surprisingly nasty, especially since he was left alone for awhile.

PCs really took advantage of juju zombie musketeers and a little bit of the bullywugs. Captain Burrp and Hansa were mostly left alone. One of the highlights was right at the end when the new PC (the bullywug hunter/seeker/outlaw and first mate of The Crapaud) who had been slapped around all fight made a case for activating the terrain power now that he was captain. Lept across the battlefield, capped the Oracle in the head midair, and ordered The Crapaud to fire on The Wart Mother which finished her.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

My final thoughts were that primarily, it was a helluva good time.
The only things I would change would be throwing  a few non-minion enemies besides the Wart Mother in to lower the efficency of the juju squads (Especially with my 13 Intimidate and Kittra's 12 Intimidate haha), or lower the number of attacks the juju zombird make at once. Dargan and Kittra together took out around 24 grippli just by intimidating the squads of musketeers.  I may throw in something similair, even just a reflavoring, someday if you don't mind.
The monsters worked really well, the Wart Mother was a big threat but not unbeatable, we got some good RP in even when Dargan wouldn't leave his heavily injured friend Sapo except to  try to attack the Oracle (who was trying to kill Sapo). I really liked the ending (at least the ending for me, and about one round  away from the end of the fight) when Dargan was hit by the exploding ammo tent. I didn't really miss any of the fight, like I said it was basically over, and it really felt cinematic, and fitting for Dargan.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
Am I the only one that reads the title thread as "The Wal-Mart Mother Cometh" when it gets bumped to the top of the page? xD

Seriously though, it gives me ideas for running a game where players are customers or employees trapped in an evil wal-mart...or maybe a zombie apocalypsed wal-mart. Hmm.... 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Am I the only one that reads the title thread as "The Wal-Mart Mother Cometh" when it gets bumped to the top of the page? xD

Seriously though, it gives me ideas for running a game where players are customers or employees trapped in an evil wal-mart...or maybe a zombie apocalypsed wal-mart. Hmm.... 



You mat not have seen it but there was a really good King of the Hill epsiode where the guys were trapped in a Mega-Lo Mart (basically Wal-Mart) and they were being watched and sabotaged by both two teenage employees looking to play a joke on Dale and Chuck Mangione himself, who had a hideout in the toilet paper aisle. That would be a very fun adventure, if the stakes were made a bit higher, and the enemies wanted to kill the PCs.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
Am I the only one that reads the title thread as "The Wal-Mart Mother Cometh" when it gets bumped to the top of the page? xD

Seriously though, it gives me ideas for running a game where players are customers or employees trapped in an evil wal-mart...or maybe a zombie apocalypsed wal-mart. Hmm.... 



You mat not have seen it but there was a really good King of the Hill epsiode where the guys were trapped in a Mega-Lo Mart (basically Wal-Mart) and they were being watched and sabotaged by both two teenage employees looking to play a joke on Dale and Chuck Mangione himself, who had a hideout in the toilet paper aisle. That would be a very fun adventure, if the stakes were made a bit higher, and the enemies wanted to kill the PCs.



Yes, I've seen that episode. I love it. <3 I've seen almost every episode of King of the Hill.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Am I the only one that reads the title thread as "The Wal-Mart Mother Cometh" when it gets bumped to the top of the page? xD

Seriously though, it gives me ideas for running a game where players are customers or employees trapped in an evil wal-mart...or maybe a zombie apocalypsed wal-mart. Hmm.... 



You mat not have seen it but there was a really good King of the Hill epsiode where the guys were trapped in a Mega-Lo Mart (basically Wal-Mart) and they were being watched and sabotaged by both two teenage employees looking to play a joke on Dale and Chuck Mangione himself, who had a hideout in the toilet paper aisle. That would be a very fun adventure, if the stakes were made a bit higher, and the enemies wanted to kill the PCs.



Yes, I've seen that episode. I love it. <3 i="" ve="" seen="" almost="" every="" episode="" of="" king="" the="" hill="" quote="" br="" class="mbQuoteSpacer">


Me as well, that's a fantastic show. My personal favorite was Soldier of Misfortune, where Dale is deposed as the Gun Club president.
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POCKET SAND!!!!!!! 
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
Since my backup character when I ran through this was a grippli, I'm horribly appalled that you so-called adventurers would kill the Wart Mother and massacre my people, you bunch of rotten scallywags.  In a just world, you would have been TPK'ed and made into filet mignon for the Wart Mother whom we all love and cherish with all our tiny hearts.

But seriously, I think one of the factors in this might have been that from what I gathered, the party was pretty much all single-target and didn't really have much minion-clearing capacity to begin with, so giving them the good minion-clearers of the terrain powers was in a lot of ways making up for what would have been a big party weakness in that encounter.

If someone brought a Wizard with Beguiling Strands, it would have been an utter massacre.

I would also be curious how it would play out if the individual minions were replaced with swarms, and what kind of cool swarm powers a swarm of hunters would have.  I've imagined grippli hunting tactics to be barrage them with poison arrows to slow then down, then swarm them with the wee spears.
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
My final thoughts were that primarily, it was a helluva good time.
The only things I would change would be throwing  a few non-minion enemies besides the Wart Mother in to lower the efficency of the juju squads (Especially with my 13 Intimidate and Kittra's 12 Intimidate haha), or lower the number of attacks the juju zombird make at once. Dargan and Kittra together took out around 24 grippli just by intimidating the squads of musketeers.  I may throw in something similair, even just a reflavoring, someday if you don't mind.
The monsters worked really well, the Wart Mother was a big threat but not unbeatable, we got some good RP in even when Dargan wouldn't leave his heavily injured friend Sapo except to  try to attack the Oracle (who was trying to kill Sapo). I really liked the ending (at least the ending for me, and about one round  away from the end of the fight) when Dargan was hit by the exploding ammo tent. I didn't really miss any of the fight, like I said it was basically over, and it really felt cinematic, and fitting for Dargan.



Glad you enjoyed it, dude. Do you think you guys could have handled a couple of standard monsters on the field? I thought I chewed you guys up pretty well as-is. The Oracle of Ribbit was a standard monster and started the encounter with damage already on him (from Snag and Puff).

And crimsyn mentioning swarms is just plain spite - Grippli Bill (crimsyn's backup character) really did love the Wart Mother. That much was clear. 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Dargan stayed on the island and eventually kills even more grippli. We may have to duke it out, hold on a moment while I get my maul and Jackhammer.



"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
My final thoughts were that primarily, it was a helluva good time.
The only things I would change would be throwing  a few non-minion enemies besides the Wart Mother in to lower the efficency of the juju squads (Especially with my 13 Intimidate and Kittra's 12 Intimidate haha), or lower the number of attacks the juju zombird make at once. Dargan and Kittra together took out around 24 grippli just by intimidating the squads of musketeers.  I may throw in something similair, even just a reflavoring, someday if you don't mind.
The monsters worked really well, the Wart Mother was a big threat but not unbeatable, we got some good RP in even when Dargan wouldn't leave his heavily injured friend Sapo except to  try to attack the Oracle (who was trying to kill Sapo). I really liked the ending (at least the ending for me, and about one round  away from the end of the fight) when Dargan was hit by the exploding ammo tent. I didn't really miss any of the fight, like I said it was basically over, and it really felt cinematic, and fitting for Dargan.



Glad you enjoyed it, dude. Do you think you guys could have handled a couple of standard monsters on the field? I thought I chewed you guys up pretty well as-is. The Oracle of Ribbit was a standard monster and started the encounter with damage already on him (from Snag and Puff).

And crimsyn mentioning swarms is just plain spite - Grippli Bill (crimsyn's backup character) really did love the Wart Mother. That much was clear. 


I think we could have, I  actually thought the encounter was very slightly on the easy side (Challenging and fun nonetheless. I just mean from a pure damage output perspectve). The problem the Oracle has was that he couldn't really keep up with the nbattle when we started running towards the grippli formation. I think something along the lines of two 4th level standards, deployed individually like they were sort of stalking us (Lurkers maybe? Could be grippli shadow hunters) would have been the most more we could handle.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
I think we could have, I  actually thought the encounter was very slightly on the easy side (Challenging and fun nonetheless. I just mean from a pure damage output perspectve). The problem the Oracle has was that he couldn't really keep up with the nbattle when we started running towards the grippli formation. I think something along the lines of two 4th level standards, deployed individually like they were sort of stalking us (Lurkers maybe? Could be grippli shadow hunters) would have been the most more we could handle.



Well, I did drop two of you and a third was swallowed for a few rounds. I even took out Berovice for the first time. (I consider that a personal victory.) I probably could have just brought in another wave of minions to overrun at least one zombie platoon. What I was really after as a monster goal was to get two strikes on each of the terrain powers which I managed to do on Burrp, Hansa, the bullywugs, and one of the zombies. Those created complications - Captain Burrp dead, exploding munitions tent, bullywugs stealing treasure, Hansa fleeing in the jungle, juju zombies shooting Dargan - which were fun and drove the story forward rather than death which, well, we've all seen that thread.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

I think we could have, I  actually thought the encounter was very slightly on the easy side (Challenging and fun nonetheless. I just mean from a pure damage output perspectve). The problem the Oracle has was that he couldn't really keep up with the nbattle when we started running towards the grippli formation. I think something along the lines of two 4th level standards, deployed individually like they were sort of stalking us (Lurkers maybe? Could be grippli shadow hunters) would have been the most more we could handle.



Well, I did drop two of you and a third was swallowed for a few rounds. I even took out Berovice for the first time. (I consider that a personal victory.) I probably could have just brought in another wave of minions to overrun at least one zombie platoon. What I was really after as a monster goal was to get two strikes on each of the terrain powers which I managed to do on Burrp, Hansa, the bullywugs, and one of the zombies. Those created complications - Captain Burrp dead, bullywugs stealing treasure, Hansa fleeing in the jungle, juju zombies shooting Dargan - which were fun and drove the story forward rather than death which, well, we've all seen that thread.



You dropped  Sapo, but I didn't die from the monsters, so that dosen't  hurt balance (Plus, had to give Dargan his pride points! ). Berovice's death was a bhit frightening, not because he's really powerful, but because it never ever happened before haha. Yeah, the complications were genius, beasically mixed the terrain and people really well. Burrp died from his own stupidity, though, hahaI never did like him on the ship. Always gave me the job of swabbing the deck.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
And crimsyn mentioning swarms is just plain spite - Grippli Bill (crimsyn's backup character) really did love the Wart Mother. That much was clear. 



Grippli Bill?  I think you mean the new and improved Oracle of Ribbit.

No, I was just wondering, at what point do swarms graduate to minions?  It's something that I've wondered about before, especially with little dudes like the Grippli.
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
And crimsyn mentioning swarms is just plain spite - Grippli Bill (crimsyn's backup character) really did love the Wart Mother. That much was clear. 



Grippli Bill?  I think you mean the new and improved Oracle of Ribbit.

No, I was just wondering, at what point do swarms graduate to minions?  It's something that I've wondered about before, especially with little dudes like the Grippli.



Hmm....
Maybe Dargan had a run-in with this Bill fellow  
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
Show
141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
And crimsyn mentioning swarms is just plain spite - Grippli Bill (crimsyn's backup character) really did love the Wart Mother. That much was clear. 



Grippli Bill?  I think you mean the new and improved Oracle of Ribbit.

No, I was just wondering, at what point do swarms graduate to minions?  It's something that I've wondered about before, especially with little dudes like the Grippli.



Hmm....
Maybe Dargan had a run-in with this Bill fellow  



If you see an utterly shocked little grippli desperately trying to bring her back to life by tinkering with the cube, it's probably him.

Either that, or if any of the ones you splattered had any musical talent, and smoked enough herbs to make him able to speak common in the voice of Johnny Cash...
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/