This week's Encounters session was short and simple. Which is great for a fast and exciting game, but doesn't lend itself to a very interesting blog post. My apologies for the brevity.
Attendance for Encounters at my shop has dropped off a little in the last couple weeks. I was down to three players for this session. I'm chalking it up to school starting and my older regulars having lives. I ran the encounter anyway, though I didn't upgrade the verbeeg to 6th level as I had planned. Used during this encounter were a drow witch, a human warden, and a halfling thief.
Compared to most sessions in this season, the fight with cousin Basal was quite straight forward. The players agreed to fight him until one side or the other yielded; they requested that Orlando not be hurt during the fight and I had Basal agree on the condition that Orlando not participate. The players stuffed Orlando back into the cellar where he had been hiding and we got on with things.
The fight with Basal was evenly matched enough that I killed the witch, took the warden down to dying, and bloodied the thief before they managed to make the giant yield. As a concession to the player of the witch, she was permitted to bring in one of the pregenerated options as a reinforcement. A lucky roll got the warden back on his feet. The whole grisly affair took about seven rounds.
Only having three PCs made Basal's Lunging Sweep all but useless. And the increased AC of level four characters dramatically reduced his effectiveness. I imagine that he was brutally tough against second level PCs though, easily a match for six.
Role-play this session was marginally better, though limited by the circumstances. There was really only the meeting with Orlando and the pre-fight negotiation with Basal to play out. Next week looks like it features a lot more opportunity for role-play; hopefully everyone will be up for it.
The announcement of 5th edition earlier this week leaves me wondering if we should continue promoting 4th edition. To be honest, the only reason I run Encounters is to promote gaming in general and sales at Astral Games. It's a fun game, but if sales are going to be adversely affected by the announcement and people are less inclined to participate in Encounters because the game is on its way out, we might be better off demoing another product. We discussed that at the end of our session on Wednesday and the three players present were interested in doing some of the play test stuff that supposed to be coming for 5th ed. If there's enough interest we may go that way, otherwise it'll probably depend on whether attendance for Encounters picks up.