We continued our adventures from where we left off last session using level 2 PCs
Rynlore Human Paladin (warden/minstrel)
Jaden Human Greatweapon Fighter
Elifar Wood Elf Ranger (Brute Hunter) – DM PC for tonight’s session
The party had previously escaped from the sewers after encountering wererats (custom creatures - to make them more menacing, I experimented by adding an extra caveat...werecreatures would retain 1 hp unless struck with silver weapons or magic). Resting a night at Wrafton’s Inn, they healed and refreshed (leveled from 1st to 2nd level) and they were also able to procure 6 silvered arrows from the Great Shop merchant. Then the adventurer’s crept back down into the sewers to continue exploring and ultimately find the wererat lair and Edgar Scrope’s map.
They explored a northern passage and Elifar was able to sneak up on a carrion crawler that was feasting on a rancid humanoid corpse. After Elifar gave the others hand signals alerting them, Jaden charged into the carrion crawler’s nesting area, and chopped at it with his greataxe doing some damage to the slug-like monster. Rynlore moved in wielding his mighty morningstar and connected for considerable damage while Elifar hit it with an arrow. Within two rounds, the monster was dead and the party inspected the rancid corpse. Under the body, Jaden found a silvered dagger.
Exploring another passage that they hadn’t explored before, the party came to a t-section. Jaden looked down both passageways, and was able to spot two Troglodytes hiding in the shadows to the east. After engaging with the creatures, he smelled their putrid stench and a wave of nausea washed over him. Even though he was reeling (disadvantage), he was still able to hack into one of the creatures nearly severing the creatures arm in one shot. Rynlore and Elifar joined the fray, and Elifar dropped the injured Trog with an arrow that shot straight through its eye and out the back of its head (crit). Rynlore moved up and pressed the attack hurting the creature, but before it went down, it disengaged and ran to the east to a door in the east wall. Jaden was able to catch up to it, and rather than turn its back to the fighter, it screamed out and turned to face its death with valor, injuring Jaden before another arrow from Elifar’s bow dropped the Trog. With Jaden injured, the party rested for 10 minutes and luckily they were not interrupted.
After Jaden tended to his own wounds, he was able to bash in the door (break object skill comes in hand) to see a small clutch of Troglodytes led by a Troglodyte Priest (reskinned Dark Priest like creature). The Troglodyte Priest uttered a blessing that aided his warriors, and the battle began. Jaden took a number of wounds and eventually the Trog Priest uttered an unholy word that sent wracking pain through Jaden’s body (1/2 damage inflict wounds). Elifar was able to cast a cure to knit up some of Jaden’s wounds, and Rynlore attacked with holy fury. Over the next few rounds, Rynlore suffered some claw wounds, but soon after the party prevailed. After the party dispatched its foes, they found 300 sp and 110 gp in a pile with a silvered greatsword buried beneath it. At this point, Jaden gave the silver dagger to Rynlore and took the greatsword for his main weapon. The party rested and Rynlore tended to his own wounds.
Now the party felt as if it could confront the wererats, so they stalked to the south near where they had encountered the wererats the day before. As they passed one intersection they noticed that a barrel that used to be in one area had been moved to the south end of one of the sewer tunnels. When they saw the barrel, Jaden fired an arrow into it. The arrow stuck into the side of the barrel, but nothing else happened. The party moved closer and peered around a corner to the west. Then in the darkness, they saw a torch light up. Momentarily they caught a glimpse of a wererat throwing the torch toward the barrel. It was a tremendous throw that hit the barrel and lit some oil on fire. Before the adventurers could duck away, the barrel exploded doing fiery damage to Jaden (full damage failed his save) and some damage to Rynlore (saved). Since Elifar was behind them, he took no damage from the blast. Jaden ran toward the wererat as Elifar cast a cure spell upon the fighter, but the wererat turned around and headed toward a door to the west. Before the wererat could escape, the party dealt it severe wounds using silvered weapons, and the wererat died at the foot of the door. Meanwhile, Elifar’s keen Elven ears heard ritualized chanting from inside the room. By this time, everyone heard it, and the party moved quickly to try to interrupt whatever was happening inside the room.
Inside, they found two more wererats, two zombies and a necromancer who was chanting and waving his hands over a table with a parchment on it. As the adventurers engaged the wererats and zombies, they noticed that the necromancer was intent on continuing his incantation. Jaden jumped into the room and met one wererat on a small stairway. After that wererat went down trying to defend against combined attacks by the adventurers, Jaden hopped over the handrail of the stairway and jumped down (Dex check) so that he could slide between 2 zombies, the other wererat and the necromancer. Rynlore used this opportunity to channel divinity and deliver nature’s wrath upon his foes, injuring them all. Then Jaden attacked the necromancer, disrupting the incantation, and used wide arc to take down a zombie as well. Miraculously, the zombie stayed down. The battle continued, but Jaden took a number of hits and called for Rynlore to heal him. Even with the heal, Jaden was nearly knocked unconscious as he faced another wererat. Lucky for him, Rynlore was able to use his shield to block a potentially deadly blow (interposing shield turned a critical hit into a miss). Then Elifar fired his arrow at the remaining wererat, but could not knock it down. The necromancer, disturbed and fearful of the fighter’s silvered greatsword disengaged and moved to the far corner of the room. After Rynlore smashed the zombie with his morningstar, Jaden hacked the wererat and the zombie, killing both. Then he moved to engage the necromancer. The necromancer, caught in a corner, lashed out with a Dark Fears spell (a custom spell) that caused Jaden to cower in fear from a spectral monster that pestered and wounded him. Elifar saw that Jaden was in trouble so he leveled his bow and fired at the foe. His arrow shot true and pierced the heart of the necromancer.
On the table, the party found Edgar Scrope’s map (the map was much easier to read now because the necromancer was using some sort of magic to unravel the magical wards originally on the map). They also found a chest with 200 gp worth of gems and 4 pieces of 50gp jewelry, the necromancer’s spellbook, and a potion (later identified as cure disease potion). In other barrels and boxes, the adventurer’s found fresh water, rations and a box of leather scraps with a suit of studded black dragon leather armor sized to fit the elf. After their find, the party exited the sewers and went back to Wrafton’s Inn to rest (and level up)
We like how the game flows and the quickness, but we are really concerned that many fights are too quick and spell damage seems too much especially when monsters use the same spells as PCs (inflict wounds and in our last game burning hands especially).
One player said that he didn’t really feel challenged. He realized that the spellcasting creatures were really scary and deadly, but because the inflict wounds spell, for example, does so much damage (enough to drop a fully healed 2nd level fighter into negative hit points if the fighter fails his save) he felt that luck was more of a factor than any skill or strategy (save or fall). This, combined with the reality that most fights are so quick the most efficient strategy is to just be totally offensive, made the combats less rewarding for that player. Basically, there is not enough time in most combats for rich tactical play and depending on the luck of the dice, the same encounter could turn out to be pretty easy or too challenging. That said, twice, interposing shield saved the fighter from a blow that would have knocked him down…so that was really exciting.
The same player also misses the "solo" monster concept or the "boss" monster concept. In a way, I (as DM) also miss it so I tend to put at least 1 elite or different (more powerful) monster in many of the encounters, but I have not truly used anything that would come close to being a solo monster. We mused that I could probably pit the party against a Bone Devil and the party would win...not sure. Maybe I should try it.
The other player liked the gritty likelihood that they could get knocked unconscious with one bad roll, but everyone agreed that there are balance issues with the PCs vs. Monsters.
As DM, I really have a tough time challenging the party using monsters straight from the bestiary. That’s why I create spellcasting monsters. I even gave the Troglodytes a chance to do claw, claw, bite (3 attacks per round) because I misread what I wrote in my notes (they should only get 1 claw attack and 1 bite attack per round). That being said, the adventure they went through gave them a chance to fight in 5 encounters and explore a bit all in 2 hours, and by the end, the fighter used both of his HD of healing, the paladin used 1 of his HD of healing, and both the paladin and the ranger used all of their spells and the paladin used both of his channel divinities (I forgot when he used the first one so I didn’t write it into the game summary), so I guess I’m getting a feel for what makes an adventuring day.
Overall, we are having fun playtesting, and we like the feel of many of the class powers/feats, especially interposing shield, wide arc, cleave, channel divinity options, weave through the fray (although the ranger didn’t even use it yet).
Next week I think I’m going to have them fight 1 or 2 encounters as 3rd level PCs and then level them up to 4th. We want to see how the PCs feel at different levels so we are accelerating their advancement.
A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"
Rhenny's Blog: http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog