About Me-So you can give advice accordingly and see my lack of DM knowledge
I started off with 3.0 in high school around 2002 and had to stop around 2009. After 4.0 came out, I didn't pick up D&D till August 2011. And started DMing March of 2012.
Other DM: Started D&D in 4E in July 2011, and began DMing June 2012
We both are players in a Tuesday group in a 4E campaign since October 2011, and also have been participating Encounters since August 2011.
Every encounters is the same start at level 1 and progress to 3, so this year I took a new stand to encounters.
Web of the Spider Queen, Council of Spiders, and War of Everlasting Darkness are all drow themed, so we went all out while still following a good portion of the Encounter's story line. And in the end, the main villian brings the two groups together to steal each half of the pendant from each group.
We started at level 11 with the good group at the bidding of Elminster, and the evil group following the orders of a patron. They earn XP according to 4e rules and have various skill challenges, encounters. The other DM and I work in coordination to plan the time line and attempt to balance power to the best of our ability.
- Changling Wizard
- Human Assassin
- Warforged Slayer
- Svirfneblin Fighter
- Drow Ranger
- Drow Revanent Monk
- Changling Assassin
- Human Paladin (Tiamat Follower)
- NPC Goblin (lvl 6) No idea why they didn't kill this guy.
- Dragonborn Something (This kid likes to die a lot, I can't keep up with his characters)
- Eladrin Swordmage
- Elf Cleric
- Werewolf Slayer..?
- Kobold Cleric
- Svirfneblin Shaman
- NPC Elminster (Only during PvP after requirements are met)
Issues I am aware of
Player Balance (Evil's 8 players to Good's 6. We used to be balanced)
Good's 2 healers to evil's 0.
The fact that the group is HUGE.
Maintaining fair balance
What are some standard rules or regulations to post or inform players of to maintain a fair atmosphere, or what rules should I perhaps put into play for some homebrew?
Listed are some things I came up with that I need to address, and would like some advice on. I need to know how much ruling is too much, or when it isn't enough.
1. Players have never met each other in the campaign, thus I want to put a ruling on PCs attacking the clerics only when their characters have no knowledge that the Kobold and Elf are clerics.
2. Communicating out loud, defining language barriers, drow hand signs, and tactics. Speaking on a battlefield or yelling over the sounds of battle, doesn't mean only your allies hear.
3. How to make it more balanced. I hardly think the 2 healers make up for the 2 extra characters in evil.
4. Dealing with players with a vendetta against another player.
5. Critical hits. This seems self explanatory, but I read in various places that Hunter's Quarry and Sneak Attack are maximized for a critical hit. Here is what I'm putting in a handout that I'm making for the players a week before the pvp. (My evil side has 2 sneak attackers and one ranger, so this is important)
This is going to be a topic of interest because the rules are just ambiguous enough to be translated in a few different ways.
According to wizards.com on a FAQ
"Which dice do I maximize when scoring a critical hit ?
Only the dice you would normally roll to calculate damage are maximized. If another bonus (like from a weapon or feat) causes you to roll extra damage dice when scoring a critical hit, those dice are rolled as normal."
And according to Mike Mearls, Hunter’s Quarry and Sneak Attack are also maximized. I have been unable to find errata that contradict this particular comment.
So, if a rogue is granted combat advantage against an enemy and hits, they NORMALLY roll sneak attack and normal die. So if they crit, the dice they normally would roll would include the sneak attack.
Of course if the rogue is not being granted combat advantage, then they would not roll that sneak attack die even if the hit was a crit.
Now if you note the second part to the FAQ it says “If another bonus from a weapon or feat causes you to roll extra damage dice when scoring a critical hit, those are rolled as normal.” You do not roll sneak attack only on crits, thus the sneak attack and quarry is omitted from this interpretation.
5. Elminster. He was used in the Encounters booklet to create a hook for the group to venture into the underdark, however, since our groups are highly unbalanced, we thought about having Elminster pop in to assist the good group once they hit a requirement (death on the good side, or all bloodied and evil is still kicking strong). Our reasoning for this was a slight tweak in FR lore, the Pendant of Ashaba we decided has a large portion of Mystra's magic and is thus a HUGE boon for Lolth. Elminster having had close ties with Mystra, and also living in Shadowdale would risk part of his sanity to prevent the overtaking of Lolth.
6. Timed turns...? A few players (99%), have a hard time making decisions and are scared to proceed in fear of character death. (Last week it took them 15 minutes to decide which door of 7 to open) And the way the encounter was set up, the creatures were trapped inside unable to slap the players themselves. I didn't think it would take them THAT long to pick one.
7. Hating on metagaming. I know I mentioned PCs purposely attacking people they know are clerics with PC knowledge, not character knowledge. But because it's pVp should I get really tight fisted on metagaming. Such as this almost too true example "Hey, delay your turn, I'm going to use my power/fortune card/whatever to knock him prone and then you can use your power/fortune card/whatever." I allow players to assist each other if they have questions or if they could do something more efficiently that they're just unaware of.
I would greatly appreciate all advice, critique, suggestions, corrections, and so and so forth. Hopefully with some explanation for said comment so I have a logical choo-choo train to follow instead of a "just because I said so" answer.
This PvP isn't going to happen for another month, but due to the grand nature of it, I would like to be confident about the rules the other Dm and I set early on.
P.S. If anyone is interested in the really long story we created for this, I'll be happy to share it. But it is pretty webby with rumors, lies, tricks, and I.O.U's. I think Lolth would be proud of us.