This thread is for feedback and questions on the LFR Adventure, SPEC4-5.
The adventure premiered today at Gencon 2012
This one was probably my favorite mod at GenCon. The environment was interesting, our resources were taxed, our skills were taxed, and yet, we prevailed both times I played it, once at AL4, once at AL10.
One small thing I remember scratching my head about was that in the last encounter the ongoing effect from the center creature didn't seem to scale between AL's. At AL 2 and 4, ongoing 15 seems a bit much.
I can't comment on how the encounters were written, because my 2 DM's ran them with some slight differences partly due to time constraints. Second time around, we completely skipped the second encounter, and ran through it as a skill challenge. But in either case, the story was rolling smoothly (even if the seas were not), and only when it was rewards time, that we realized we had done a number of things "right", so it was all pretty natural... at least for good aligned heroes.
I was at the AL10 table with Mengu74 who played on Sunday morning (I played the vestige warlock) -- let me also give mad props to our DM, who stepped up to run this mod with very little preparation (he'd played it earlier with a different character, and gave up a chance to play with his wife and son to run it for us once it was obvious that HQ had run out of DMs).
The first encounter was very challenging -- the monsters having different 'targets' made for very interesting tactical decisions on our part. I could easily see where following traditional 'let's focus fire on one enemy at a time' tactics would lead to a very poor outcome. It's highly appropriate for a SPEC to take the party out of its comfort zone in an encounter, and this one did so very effectively.
I'm not sure if the 'let's swap out the second combat for a skill challenge' was in the mod or if it was improvised by our DM -- I remember seeing something similar in one of the ELTU mods, and think it should be an option in more LFR mods. Given the size of our table and our relative lack of knowledge of one another's abilities, swapping out the combat for a skill challenge was exactly what was needed to keep us on schedule to finish by noon.
I also want to give major compliments to whoever designed the last encounter -- especially in a SPEC, having an encounter that cannot be defeated simply with MOAR DAMAGE is not only refreshing, but very pleasing to players who build their characters for versatility rather than for alpha-striking. Occasionally, players should need to out-think an encounter rather than out-brute-force it, and I'd like to see this kind of encounter more frequently (but probably no more than one per mod).
(As for the ongoing 15 damage from the main monster in the mod, I just assumed it was there to prevent Moment of Glory from being the traditional 'I win' button that it is in most encounters.)
If I had any criticism, it'd be that we never really got any understanding of why all the craziness was happening, though it's possible that the adventure did contain more of that kind of information and we just never got to see it because our DM was hard-pressed enough just readying the combats for us.
Four stars -- would play again.
Notes from the author:
Thanks for the good review
The second fight is supposed to an easy fight in which it is more appropiate to focus on rescueing NPCs than killing the monsters. It does not offer an alternative as a skill challenge perse, but I certainly applaud DMs doing so especially in a time sensitive environment and if the players are not opposed to it.
The last encounter is mostly Dan's work with a few twists and tweaks from me. As for ongoing 15, those are from three different sources. Not that that helps, and I can see how that can become really lethal at AL2... I need to see how we can change it without loosing the feel of the fight...
As for why, it is the start of a series All the PCs know is that something stirred up the monsters through that shadow rift, whether it was a natural result of the shadow curse that haunts the city or something malignent and sapient that remains to be seen. Maybe it was Netheril, maybe the presence of a dead shade agent was coincidence For now, you succeeded in saving the lives of a lot of innocents and ambassador Deskyr Thanterim would love for you and your friends to stick around. Trouble is comming...[/quote]
I quite enjoyed this mod as well, though if I'd realized I was dashing away from chatting with you to play at a table of a mod you wrote I might have said something
I don't want to give too much feedback on the mechanics until I can read the adventure, especially for the last combat, but I liked managing the other objectives for the first two combats and the second combat was refreshing - start off in what appears to be a very tough spot, then mostly crush things.
For the last combat:
The skill challenge elements seemed far too action intensive. At one point I estimated it at over 40 table actions required (it's not easy to move, and you're taking OAs for a lot of those too!), and we lost initiative to the carrion crawlers so we were almost entirely bottled up in the entrance to start.
We did the skill challenge, but it definitely seemed to me that my table would have been much better off just alpha striking the big bad.
I ended up playing this mod twice due to game bumping and a judge shortage (a pretty constant and irritating issue this year) both at AL10.
The first time was with a well-prepped DM: Spoiler: Show
It was grueling, but fun. The first battle was tough, especially without a free burster/blaster. The light-grabbing monsters were probably a bit too much with how quickly and aggressively they could take out light sources but that's a minor quibble. I might make them minions if the party isn't equipped to handle them or only have them grab a couple of the lights before finding other targets.
The second battle was really tough also. we ended up far away from the "tower" because of thh skill challenge (which it seemed we'd done fairly well at even). It was a pretty fun skill challenge I thought and gave those with physical abilities some fun stuff to do. With the Dire Rats creating a Radius 10 full Darkness (Concealment radius and Shadowfell proximity) there was no way most of the time to even see the villagers, let alone save them. I was spending half-damage Dailies just to try and kill them so we could see. Only the Monk in our party could get Blindsight and the wererats tore in to our front line pretty heavily as they were engulfed in the dark.
Third third battle was weird. The DM basically advised us to go for the Skill Challenge because the Otyugh would likely be unkillable. Most of us spread across the board using whatever movement tricks we had to get by the Otyugh avoiding attacks as much as we could but the crawlers ended up imobilizing the torch setters and the defenders were gobbled up by the Otyugh. It felt a little like the Kobiyashi Maru or whatever that Star Trek test was called. The skill challenge was very action-intensive, maybe too much so.
Then there was the second DM who was actually looking to play a different level but volunteered to DM when there wasn't one. Spoiler: Show
In hindsight I should have volunteered to DM it as I'd played through it already but by the time I realized he was DMing it completely cold we were at the table already. There was too much going on and he missed a lot of little things that made it a challenge. I felt bad because the group I played with said they wanted a challenge and I told them this was a great module from my earlier experience. The concealment wasn't total, he was running tactics and abilities cold and he did well considering the lack of even being able to read the adventure first but it was a total cakewalk. We succeeded in the first skill challenge and were in an advantageous position and the only concealed rats were no problem.
In the third battle basically three of us took on the Skill Challenge while the others pounded on the Crawlers & Otyugh and we nailed it. Again, it's hard to fault a DM running it cold but he missed a few of the Otyugh off-turn attack abilities which would have made it a tough battle.
Over all it was a good adventure but REALLY highlighted what a difference DMs and prep make.
After having played the mod twice and read through it in detail, I still have no idea how many actions that challenge is supposed to take. Move to the torch, grab the torch,.....look around?, move again, place it? For each torch?!?
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