Hello all. Ran this for 6 people this past Saturday: optimized warforged fighter, optimized Cha dragonborn paladin, versatile wizard, melee rogue, greatbow ranger, and warforged polearm cleric.
Of the 7 of us only the paladin had epic experience. I really did not roll well for attacks through the whole module but I've never believed in changing my rolls.
Welcome to the RockSpoiler:
Separating the party is always interested but the defenders and cleric did a good job of keeping the others safe although the ranger crossed the entire map to keep away from his own personal ogre. Cleric's Polearm Gamble feat let him attack of opportunity any enemy who approached him. Between that, come and get it, dragonborn breath, and wizard the minions had very little effect. Ogre stun attack only hit once. Overall not a difficult encounter, only interesting for the different PC start zones, good intro to EPIC combat.
Bastion of Lost Hope and other skill challenge encountersSpoiler:
Players succeeded on all group skill checks, allowing pc's to pick from multiple skills for the group check really helped them. Only gave out 2 fatigue points the whole module, ranger and rogue immediately sacrificed healing surges to negate them. Cleric contracted Corroding Doom, paladin used keoghtm's (?spelling) ointment on him immediately.
The Lost CitySpoiler:
PC's felt the pressure to climb the ziggurat. Wizard used mass fly utility power, really simplifying the encounter. Also used a 6 square high, 12 square wide wall-I let it delay the mud from climbing a level for one round. He was really the star of the encounter. Hiding the dragon within the ziggurat was hilarious, cleric moved way up the steps and was alone when dragon appeared. I got him pretty low but party worked together, kept flying up the levels, no particular danger. Cleric turned down Sinmaker's offer of in-combat healing. Mud was great, Mass Fly didn't break the encounter but did make a well-designed very difficult combat fun and challenging without being overwhelmed-players really saw the wizard shine here.
Garden of MaliceSpoiler:
Paladin and I were the organizers of this game day so we chose to make this the skipped encounter of the 3. It seemed too similar to the "Heart" encounter from The Paladin's Plague.
Shelter from the StormSpoiler:
Really fun forcing the ranged characters into a small area. Ranger used his first round to break a hole in both walls and run in, rogue ran in and dazed the aspect of baphomet so party could get inside without attacks of opportunity. They really focused on him, dropped him in 2 rounds. The Jarrlaks' spell eater power (destroy a zone) provided a jaw-dropping moment for the cleric and the mavawhans' icy blast let me push half the party back into the storm and adjacent to the ice wall so a nice chuck of auto-damage especially since they had cold vulnerability from the first jarrlak going bloodied. Frozen portal never hit for me unfortunately. Fun, interesting combat really had them worried although no one was knocked unconscious.
Paladin and cleric wouldn't deal with Sinmaker at any point. Wizard and ranger didn't care, fighter and rogue drank the draughts of life and he travelled with them from here. His in-combat heal was never needed but it was fun to have him whispering in PCs' ears as victory and defeat fluctuated.
Guardians of AgathysSpoiler:
For time purposes made this an abstract combat: Everyone rolled initiative, I assigned my monsters and the PCs a number needed to roll to hit. Powers that targeted more than 1 targed were used as such, applied PCs' damage to the monsters-they took out 2 the first round and 2 the second round. Dealt some damage to the PCs but with this version of combat they could use powers to reduce damage. With 2 original enemies left at end of second round they got a small power boost then faced the abominations the same way. I did it this way to still convey the story and drain powers/AP's/health but save time. Could have just subtracted healing surges but that would have ignored the PCs' ability to negate damage, boost heals, etc. Not perfect but received no compaints.
Party succeeded at all group skill checks (but it was funny to see the paladin provide the only failure in each of the first three scenes). Small amount of damage was taken during the scenes.
Party focused on disrupting the ritual, finished it in the second round so drow and spiders only healed once. Plus I kept forgetting to add their bonus damage. Rogue used knockout when the exarch was almost bloodied. If the knockout damage had bloodied her I would have had her immediately awaken from (unconscious) thereby ruining the knockout-coup de grace combo but the rogue's damage was just short of bloody, figher then did the coup de grace for >150 hit points (triple weapon attack, +5 vicious, war ring after milestone, blah blah blah). The unleashed vortex was fun for me and the PCs. Nice small room.
The Hungering DarkSpoiler:
First time the PCs really felt threatened. Having the swarm mostly block the hall and prevent their escape from the advancing darkness was great, having it and its minions grab was even better. Party saved the prisoners they felt were "good," the false Mystra agent was in perfect position to attack the non-defenders but missed. Wizard again shone by teleporting a PC out of the hungering dark before he started his turn. Ranger was slowed spent move, standard, and AP in one round moving 2 squares each to get down the hall. They really felt pressure to get out, really felt in danger. Having the darkness move on its own plus 1 square every 15 minutes of real time was great-I got the fighter in darkness when he thought he was just of its movement range. He then lost half his surges. Storm devils were helpful in slowing the party and throwing them back to the horde and darkness. The hunger delayed damage was nice, at one point the fighter was set to take 200 points of damage if he didn't get healed, unfortunately he did get healed. Paladin did go unconscious from this damage, but his ring got him back into the 20s.
Into the WebSpoiler:
They focused on getting people through the portal, really bought into the unending hordes of abominations quickly closing in on them. At first they didn't see how entering the Demonweb was a good thing but with Sinmaker I stressed that while being in the Demonweb isn't a good thing it was the only way of getting of the unescapable prison. I found the elemental eyes annoying to run as a GM-I rolled for elemental type for each of them. I should have rolled the same elemental type for them all once round one, rolled again round two. Strikers went through first, then cleric, then paladin, then fighter. I stopped running combat on the other side of the portal after a second eye went through with no maws. They finished the encounter before the beginning of round 3.
Players loved it. 1 said it was his best time ever with a d20, everyone said it met their expectations of EPIC!, ranked in their best LFR experiences.
11 hours including two 30 minute meal breaks. Everyone knew their characters and the party was a very good balance of roles/abilities. Every PC performed its role well but I thought the wizard was the star due to the mass fly and rescuing the ranger from the hungering dark (Wizard wasn't specialized and had none of the powers we GMs hate). I had as much ready in advance as possible, maps had terrain/skill challenge info written on them for everyone to read, 1 player kept track of conditions with flags next to figures on maps, another helped with the initiative board everyone could see. Sinmaker was a good role-playing tool. Two of the players will be running 23 and 21 in next two months so I will get to play also.