Possibly First LFR TPK!

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Ok. So here goes: the first TPK in the LFR setting I have heard of so far. I'm running my Dwarf Cleric, adventuring along with an Elf Ranger, a Human Warlock, and an Eladrin Rogue.

We enter the room, pretty much expecting this fight to be a breeze, as we had diplomanced our way out of the BBEG fight. We are a bit low on surges and get low initiative rolls. 2 Spitter Drakes manage to bloody the archer, and a crit from a needlefang drake swarm nearly beheads the warlock, who gets knocked prone. I try and do a shock sphere (I'm Multiclassed Wizard) and end up missing the monsters but critting the rogue. the spitters drop the ranger, who I heal, only for him to be dropped again. The warlock is pinned and I can't really heal him. the Rogue gets droopped by the spitters (who can't seem to hit my defenses). Finally I heal the ranger, who manages to drop a spitter, before the swarm, (who had just killed the lock), finishes him off. I use a power gem to recover my Heals, heal myself, and try to drop a divine glow. I hit, bloodieing one drake. I action point to Lance of Faith. That kills the spitter. Finally, I am dropped by the swarm.




Overall, it was still a fun battle, but, we got TPKed, something I have never seen in LFR.
We've had at least two TPKs in Calgary. Nice story though.
Dude, just play a 4-person table with people new to LFR... instant TPK. We've had a bunch at our game day near the start of the campaign.
Overall, it was still a fun battle, but, we got TPKed, something I have never seen in LFR.

You haven't been looking hard enough. There was at least one at Gencon when it debuted.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
If the game day you refer to was weekend in the realms then yes, that mod was brutal.

I've only had a few other mods where I felt a TPK was truly possible if you were playing the mod at the proper difficulty (when you play high with everyone min level for a mod I expect TPK's to be possible, which is why we almost always play high) I won't say which mod but those of you who played it know what I'm referring to probably, there is a fight with a mob that tosses out a nice big ongoing 10 damage + restrain, I think there are 3 of those guys and one of the other mobs can toss out a ongoing 5 acid + blind. The mobs have a pretty decent chance of surprising you or going first and naturally the party is once again forced to start in a 2x3 grid vs mobs with burst 1 asswhooping.

Actually my biggest complaint overall about LFR mods is the standard "start here in this 2x3 optimized grid so the GM can burst 1 your entire party with any critter that goes before you" starting zone. I really want more mods that allow you to start in bigger areas, like a 5x5 start grid or 4x8 etc, or if you are in a tunnel allow you to space out like 2xx2xx2 with 10 feet between partners of 2 etc. There is no way with how many things that are dangerous out there that use burst attacks that I'd stand but up against 3-5 of my friends as we walk around. One thing I do like when we have total darkness is I tend to run up in front a bit on my Drow Rogue, and the lightsource/darklight ritual caster person with the sunrod is about 6-8 squares behind me. Perfect scouting conditions, but again, those start areas if the DM enforces them really suck for that type of party preparation.
Blah blah blah
Actually my biggest complaint overall about LFR mods is the standard "start here in this 2x3 optimized grid so the GM can burst 1 your entire party with any critter that goes before you" starting zone. I really want more mods that allow you to start in bigger areas, like a 5x5 start grid or 4x8 etc, or if you are in a tunnel allow you to space out like 2xx2xx2 with 10 feet between partners of 2 etc. There is no way with how many things that are dangerous out there that use burst attacks that I'd stand but up against 3-5 of my friends as we walk around. One thing I do like when we have total darkness is I tend to run up in front a bit on my Drow Rogue, and the lightsource/darklight ritual caster person with the sunrod is about 6-8 squares behind me. Perfect scouting conditions, but again, those start areas if the DM enforces them really suck for that type of party preparation.

I feel your pain. If possible I encourage my party to spread out when expecting contact with the enemy. I have had GM's actually move miniatures closer together for no other reason than "the mod says they won't attack until your party goes here". If an ambush goes off and only gets one PC acting as scout them he has done his job, and the rest of us are ready to pull his butt out of the fire.
If the game day you refer to was weekend in the realms then yes, that mod was brutal.

I've only had a few other mods where I felt a TPK was truly possible if you were playing the mod at the proper difficulty (when you play high with everyone min level for a mod I expect TPK's to be possible, which is why we almost always play high) I won't say which mod but those of you who played it know what I'm referring to probably, there is a fight with a mob that tosses out a nice big ongoing 10 damage + restrain, I think there are 3 of those guys and one of the other mobs can toss out a ongoing 5 acid + blind. The mobs have a pretty decent chance of surprising you or going first and naturally the party is once again forced to start in a 2x3 grid vs mobs with burst 1 asswhooping.

Actually my biggest complaint overall about LFR mods is the standard "start here in this 2x3 optimized grid so the GM can burst 1 your entire party with any critter that goes before you" starting zone. I really want more mods that allow you to start in bigger areas, like a 5x5 start grid or 4x8 etc, or if you are in a tunnel allow you to space out like 2xx2xx2 with 10 feet between partners of 2 etc. There is no way with how many things that are dangerous out there that use burst attacks that I'd stand but up against 3-5 of my friends as we walk around. One thing I do like when we have total darkness is I tend to run up in front a bit on my Drow Rogue, and the lightsource/darklight ritual caster person with the sunrod is about 6-8 squares behind me. Perfect scouting conditions, but again, those start areas if the DM enforces them really suck for that type of party preparation.

I hear you brother, this is the reason why, when I DM, I try to give the players a bigger starting area, or the ability to spread out. The only problem is some of the maps just don't allow for a bigger starting area.

After playing a couple of runs of a certain module with a one-eyed orc who has a brutal AoE spell that knocks you prone. I simply got bored with every party being knocked on their collective backsides. Then being swarmed by brutes, who blocked the 2x2 tunnel they were all lying in.

It was just plain nasty!
Actually my biggest complaint overall about LFR mods is the standard "start here in this 2x3 optimized grid so the GM can burst 1 your entire party with any critter that goes before you" starting zone.

Obviously, those zones are not put there for that reason. Those areas are put on the map to show the generally area/direction that the PCs might approach the encounter from. If we don't put them there, more times than not the DM looks at the map and doesn't know where that is. No DM should force the PCs to stand in those exact squares unless there is a very good reason to do so--like PCs are teleported into squares, for example.

Shawn
LFR Global Admin
Furthermore, those maps are just the general surroundings of a fight. A DM should really not fear to add more tiles or draw a bigger map on the battlemap. Just because one fight at a warehouse only shows the warehouse, does not mean you cannot add the streets surrounding it.

Pieter Sleijpen
RPGA LFR Global Administrator,
who has seen at least three TPKs in my own area.
But... you don't go off the edge of the map! There be dragons there.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Furthermore, those maps are just the general surroundings of a fight. A DM should really not fear to add more tiles or draw a bigger map on the battlemap. Just because one fight at a warehouse only shows the warehouse, does not mean you cannot add the streets surrounding it.

Pieter Sleijpen
RPGA LFR Global Administrator,
who has seen at least three TPKs in my own area.

Also asking players if they have a scout and how many squares is the said scout is ahead of the main party. I nearly always move things around on maps anyway to keep people on their toes
But... you don't go off the endge of the map! There be dragons there.

Or Goblin bloody hexers lol

I have had 2 almost TPK's so far, one ended when the not too badly injured cleric managed to intimidate a beat up orc and stop the fight and the other when a certain goblin shaman in a Barrow almost wiped a party playing up which wasn't a TPK due to the Rogue taking off like an olympic sprinter
this wasn't a TPK but I had fun with this one mods encounter.

Party needed to go investigate some ruins. Ruins had a bunch of guardians. Party started at one end of map, ruins and guardians on other side.

Laid map out, everone rolled inititive.

Guardians set up in a defensive formation, some slinked off into cover.

Party set up in defensive formation, waited for the attack.

Now, the mod stated that the guardians were supposed to attack the PC. ...but, I figured since these guardains are supposed to be guarding it, they don't have to actually attack the PC to actually prevent the PC from entering the ruins if the PC just want to stand around outside the ruins.

Went through 4 rounds of combat before the PCs built up their courage to actually advance towards the ruins.
Obviously, those zones are not put there for that reason. Those areas are put on the map to show the generally area/direction that the PCs might approach the encounter from. If we don't put them there, more times than not the DM looks at the map and doesn't know where that is. No DM should force the PCs to stand in those exact squares unless there is a very good reason to do so--like PCs are teleported into squares, for example.

Shawn
LFR Global Admin

Lol Shawn, I'm going to hit you up at DNDXP for a signed copy of that statement so I can bust it out every time a DM tells us "you gotta setup in those squares" at a con =)
Blah blah blah
Lol Shawn, I'm going to hit you up at DNDXP for a signed copy of that statement so I can bust it out every time a DM tells us "you gotta setup in those squares" at a con =)

Con? There are a number of people locally I'd like to show that too. ;)
Lol Shawn, I'm going to hit you up at DNDXP for a signed copy of that statement so I can bust it out every time a DM tells us "you gotta setup in those squares" at a con =)

Fortunately, signed statements from global admins do not count as campaign documentation. ;)

Shawn
Fortunately, signed statements from global admins do not count as campaign documentation. ;)

Shawn

Thats ok, I'm still going to print your statement out and post it at the FLGS. It happens a lot around here, and its something that can easily be handled just a little bit differently to add a little more common sense, realism, and enjoyment for the players. Its particularly bad in a melee heavy party when you get blocked in a hallway and don't get out until every enemy except one ranged attacker is dead (That poor ranged attacked gets swarmed by a bunch of angry players who are just itching to burn encounter powers and action points).
Obviously, those zones are not put there for that reason. Those areas are put on the map to show the generally area/direction that the PCs might approach the encounter from. If we don't put them there, more times than not the DM looks at the map and doesn't know where that is. No DM should force the PCs to stand in those exact squares unless there is a very good reason to do so--like PCs are teleported into squares, for example.

Shawn
LFR Global Admin

This needs to be in the header for each mod. As a player, I am always forced to start there by DMs. I have yet to be given a choice, despite our stated tactics. As a judge, I did not know I had an option outside of DME.

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I've started advancing parties into the encounter area by about one or two ranks before combat starts. 4E combat design is all about battlefield fluidity, and it's hard to have a dynamic combat when all of the encounter takes place at the doorway. By letting the first and second rows into the room, there might be a few people "stuck," but it's not quite as bad.

As a related note, I've been involved in two near TPKs. Both times, people got stuck in doorways. I think there's a connection there.
I recently played EAST 1-3 and ...

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I was so frustrated with the mind flayer encounter because our group was put on the map in the six square area as shown. The monsters, as typical in this bracket, beat us on initiative so we are all nicely lined up for the mindflayer to run up and get everyone in his little daze AoE.


With monsters initiatives consistantly higher than the players (barring Dex-based classes or initiative feats), having the players start bunched up is a open license for bad DM's to unload area powers. As the game levels up, this gets worse with higher initiative monsters and more monsters with area powers with crappy effects.

The unfortunate thing is that there is no text letting you know it's just a suggestion, not a mandatory starting area. I'll second a statement being added to the standard module text somewhere.

When I'm playing my rogue, I always state that I refuse to stand next to another party member while travelling unless terrain makes it absolutely necessary. Everytime people stick the minis on the map, I move my rogue 1 square away from the party. I've rarely had a problem with a DM while doing this, but it's nice to know that my tactic is valid. When I DM, unless the terrain demands it, I just tell the players to set up "over there" and gesture in the general area of the "starting point."

Anyway, glad to at least get some word, even if "unofficial."
With monsters initiatives consistantly higher than the players (barring Dex-based classes or initiative feats), having the players start bunched up is a open license for bad DM's to unload area powers.

I don't consider myse;f a bad DM... but if the players are bunched up, for whatever reason, I will unload AoE powers on the players. I don't see why this is the mark of a bad DM. (I consider a bad DM one who can't play their monsters smart tactically)
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
I suspect the bad DMing is referring to DMs forcing players to set up their PCs on the exact same squares noted on the map. Personally I always ask the players at the table about their typical marching order and other standard traveling tactics. It helps setting up a battle quicker and it saves discussion.
I suspect the bad DMing is referring to DMs forcing players to set up their PCs on the exact same squares noted on the map. Personally I always ask the players at the table about their typical marching order and other standard traveling tactics. It helps setting up a battle quicker and it saves discussion.

I was actually going to post more-or-less the exact same thing myself. However, my internet connection went out before I could so, and so I am forced to simply agree.

Using your baddies' powers to their fullest is expected. That's what they're there for. Taking away the PCs' ability to travel smartly (ie not all bunched up) is not. If they want to spread out when they think they're in hostile terrain, let 'em (assuming there is physical space to do so).
Then you have the guy that wants to be 10+ squares away from the party because he's, "the highest level character on the table for a reason." I love squishing him when the healers are too far away...

For the TPK part, my first ever LFR experience at Weekend in the Realms was a TPK. Had I not been experienced enough a player to know what went wrong, I probably wouldn't have played another mod. There were others players that were new, and campaign leadership should keep in mind that tough mods aren't the best way to draw in newbie players. I don't think some of those players have played again since Weekend in the Realms.
Along similar notes, there are a lot of battles in LFR mods where the PCs barely get to move into the terrain, despite obvious intention by the mod.

For example, CORE1-1, final fight. There is advantageous 'terrain' to be had... but what are the chances anyone will get to it? Extremely low! A wall of critters will descend on the party almost immediately. Then you have another row of critters... the massive size of the map is pretty funny. You might as well have the map be 5x10 for all the movement PCs will take!

It would be nice to see mods allow/facilitate greater freedom for PCs to move across the terrain. The main way to do this is likely to spread out the foes and to put them further back, so as to encourage forward movement by both parties.

(I do think that the range of 5 for healing is a sad contributor to this. There is some tactical fun to the limit, but it encourages clumping and staying put vs. exploring the battlefield).

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There were others players that were new, and campaign leadership should keep in mind that tough mods aren't the best way to draw in newbie players. I don't think some of those players have played again since Weekend in the Realms.

And this assumes that the "campaign leadership" had any say whatsoever in the adventure that was run at WitR. :P

The campaign leadership is keenly aware that too-tough adventures will drive away new players. Hence we deal instead with all the "LFR is Too Easy" threads that spring up around here. :D

Shawn
In regards to CORE1-1: every time I ran it the players did NOT stay in that limited area. They all moved out. It took some work for some groups, while others had a real easy time (depends a bit on the class and races present, the initiative rolls and how they moved out of the dungeon).
I take full responsibility for our first TPK. Yes, it was Weekend.

"Ger the Mangey", Gnoll idiot
The Pack

'nuff said :D
Well, after the debut of the Battle Ragers, TPKs should be a thing of the past - except if you have lots of Artillery/Controller monsters of course...

I played a module last time with my char, and a dwarven one handed battlerager, a dwarven mordenkrad fighter, and a laser cleric. Cleric and me (human heavy blade fighter) where level 4, the dwarves where 5 and 6 (if I remember correctly).

We played high tier and the dwarves basically owned every battle without much help. And our DM forgot to scale some encounters down because we where only 4 characters...
Ceterum censeo scrinium puniceum esse delendam
At my last table, the DM decided it would be a better challenge to take 2/3 of the first encounter and add it to the last encounter.

Needless to say, it did not go well for us.
At my last table, the DM decided it would be a better challenge to take 2/3 of the first encounter and add it to the last encounter.

Needless to say, it did not go well for us.

Unfortunately few DMs know that the gap between an enounter that the characters can do without loosing a hit point using only at-wills and a TPK is narrow.

Unfortunately some DMs think they are really good at judging encounter difficulties while they are not.

Unfortunately, some DMs think it was the fault of their players when they screwed things up...

I hope at least this DM has learned a lession.
Ceterum censeo scrinium puniceum esse delendam
And unfortunately, sometimes players do screw up and blame the DM ;) We are all human, and people screw up on occassion on both sides of the screen.
And unfortunately, sometimes players do screw up and blame the DM ;) We are all human, and people screw up on occassion on both sides of the screen.

Well, true. But since there are usually more players than DMs, the chance is much greater that all DMs screw up rather than all the players screw up ;)
Ceterum censeo scrinium puniceum esse delendam
I find it impossible to judge what really happened from forum posts, but both players and DMs should try to learn from their mistakes. The trick is figuring out what was really a mistake and what was just some bad dice. I have seen both players and DMs over react to bad dice, I always try to play back the sequence and see how it would play out with perfectly normal die rolls. Mistakes are things that go badly regardless of good or bad dice or personality issues.
I find it impossible to judge what really happened from forum posts, but both players and DMs should try to learn from their mistakes.

Yes, that's totally true of course. However, when I DM, I try to blame the mistakes on the DM, and when I play, I try it on to blame it to a certain player. This helps. Unfortunately I sometimes don't succeed - then I often blame it on the adventure, which isn't fair, too, of course.

The trick is figuring out what was really a mistake and what was just some bad dice.

Yep. Die rolls can make an amazing difference. A missed daily or a failed opportunity attack can sometimes make the difference between an easy fight or a tough battle. And a string of bad luck can result in PC deaths in an encounter which should have been no problem.

I have seen battles turn the tide several times when for a while the DM did not manage to roll better than 4 and then the bad luck went to the players.

However, IMO being enranged about bad die rolls is part of the fun of D&D :D
Ceterum censeo scrinium puniceum esse delendam
It is easy to blame the dice, but I haven't seen dice be the only factor in a death yet. Fights can definitely become more difficult, and the concequences of a mistake can certainly be heightened by dice. I feel it is one of the bigger improvements of 4E over 3E... In 4E the dice still cause random havoc as is only propper for D&D, but is not just bad luck that results in a TPK or even 1 death.
but is not just bad luck that results in a TPK or even 1 death.

TPK no, 1 death yes.

We had our DM rolling one crit after the other (he rolled openly) with orcs which dealt extra damage on a crit. We could have prevented PC death, but it was impossible to prevent the char from dropping. Ok, maybe it was a little crazy to take a lvl 1 char into a high tier adventure...
Ceterum censeo scrinium puniceum esse delendam
It is easy to blame the dice, but I haven't seen dice be the only factor in a death yet.

I killed a Cleric a couple weeks ago because of a fluke of the dice. Made a huge difference in the fight. I had four ranged attacks against the cleric and by the odds I should never have gotten more than one or perhaps two hits for perhaps 15 damage total. Two crits and an additional hit for almost max damage later and he went from not even bloodied to stone cold dead.
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Two crits and an additional hit for almost max damage later and he went from not even bloodied to stone cold dead.

I am curious whether you rolled all the attacks at once. It's unlikely, although possible, that one hit would have taken him from conscious to dead. If the first two hits (crits) rendered him unconscious, there's really no reason for the third enemy to target him.
I am curious whether you rolled all the attacks at once. It's unlikely, although possible, that one hit would have taken him from conscious to dead. If the first two hits (crits) rendered him unconscious, there's really no reason for the third enemy to target him.

It could have been a crit, then the almost max damage hit, leaving him up with only 1 or 2 hit points, followed by the second crit, killing him at the same time it would have dropped him unconscious.

Sometimes bad things happen.