10/29 packet playtest

The recap:
We're doing a home campaign with the playtest materials, and everyone already had characters made with earlier playtest materials, so we had to start by retooling those characters.  Everyone started at third level.

Two players were running sorcerers previously, and so made new characters, an academic wizard and a acrobat rogue.  We already had a ranged fighter and a melee fighter and a cleric.


This session started with a lot of roleplaying amongst the new characters, and nobles in the town since the characters had just retrieved a lost item for one of them.  At a feast, a visiting dignitary from another city was attacked by an assassin.  The heroes tried to stop the assassin and succeeded after using invisibility and sanctuary on the target to allow him to escape.  For this fight, I wanted there to be a single enemy, and for it to be challenging for the players even if it was their only encounter for the day.  I tried using  a wyvern.  The xp per character for third level would suggest that it was a tough encounter, and the wyvern's ability to multiattack would be good for a solo monster, and the sting could easily be reskinned as an assassin's poisoned dagger.  The fight was really pretty anticlimactic, though, and the assassin was pretty easily defeated. He attempted to flee, but the wizard's web spell caught him long enough for him to be finished off.  Maybe for the next solo fight for level three characters I need a level nine dragon?  I'll need to try out some things and see what works...

After more roleplaying and exploring and adventure hooks, the characters tracked some troublemaking goblins to some ruins, and fought a group of goblins, a pair of goblin leaders, and some wolves.  This combat seemed to go more smoothly.  While the heroes defeated the goblins, the heroes all took some damage, and got to try a number of different attacks.  The goblins, with three hp were killed instantly by anyone's attack, except for the cleric with his sling, who did  manage to hit a couple of times despite his poor dex.  When he used a prepared spell, he fared much better, of course.   

The heroes obtained some loot and found a door in the ruin floor, which will be explored next session. 

Some thoughts: 

at-wills: The cleric in particular had problems with retooling.  He is a priest of Bahamut.  He had made his character high wisdom, and primarily attacked with Lance of faith.  His strength and dex scores were unimpressive. Since that spell is no longer at-will unless you worship the lightbringer, so his options for at-will attacks in combat were significantly decreased.  It might be nice for the other deity options to have something available combat-wise for the wisdom based cleric, so that those characters are not obligated to be high strength or dex to be effective in combat on a regular basis.  the wizard had at-will ray of frost, the rogues and fighters had at-will weapon attacks with maneuvers, and they all seemed pretty happy.  The player of the rogue seemed fine with her sneak attack damage, though that player is the least focused on combat of our group, I think.  I rather enjoyed the rogue taking a round to set up a more powerful sneak attack in the earlier playtest iterations.  We'll see how it feels at higher levels. 

skills: The player of the rogue seemed pretty happy with her options, once we went over the maneuver options.  She was very happy when her elf rogue ended up ith ten trained skills (spot and listen from elf, four from her scheme and four from her background).  Our group agreed with many other posters that we preferred perception, acrobatics, athletics as combined skills rather than spot/listen/search/track/tumble/balance/swim/climb.  I wonder if track could be combined with survival.  Of course, if you have broader skills, do you go back to three skills per character?  Does doing that to combine the above skills hurt the sage who just wants a bunch of knowledge skills? Maybe if spot/listen were recombined, and tumble/balance were recombined, and the others stayed separate?  I'm not sure yet.

monsters: Still not sure how to handle solo monsters.  I need the monster to attack multiple party members to engage them all in the combat, and for the monster to seem a more credible threat.  I need him to last long enough to make the combat interesting, and I need him to do enough damage to be a threat without doing so much that he kills everyone.  The level 6 wyvern did not last long enough, and I fear a dragon would be too much.  Maybe I should have given the wyvern extra HP.  Thoughts?
His strength and dex scores were unimpressive. Since that spell is no longer at-will unless you worship the lightbringer, so his options for at-will attacks in combat were significantly decreased.

You could have stated him as Lightbringer.

Lighbringer isn't a specific diety, it's a generic diety which you as the DM fill in with your own campaign appropriate choice.
That's absolutely true, though without houseruling,  his domain spells would all be fire/light based, which does not follow the characters theme.  It would be easy enough to give him the protector divnity, with all of those domain spells, and then to choose different at-wills, or even to et the player select a domain spell of each level and his at-wills, but I'm trying not to houserule anything while playtesting so far.
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