Monday, November 21, 2011, 8:53 PM
Well, I wish I had better news to publish, but it seems that our party just can't seem to get the right combination to make it all the way through the dungeon. We have made it to th final room a few times since my last post, but we always seem to get our butts kicked there.
Our DM is mixing things up and I think we have encountered just about everything that possibly lives in there at one point or another. Hence, we pretty much know what we need to do for every room and every beast or creature. It just seems that as we get to that last room and the boss fight we just can't seem to make that winning kill. Even I am starting to run out of ideas at this point.
I was doing quite well actually with my ranger build. The only problem we were encountering was that we couldn't get any "up front" tanks that could survive a beating with support from strikers. Our party has tried mixing it up with all the fire resistant races and even tried a few multiclass builds. We just can't seem to get the combination right. I have actually switched from my ranger to a blackguard/warlord build. I've only played him once, but I think this may help out more than the ranger for this particular party.
We have already experienced a few players change up so many times they have gotten frustrated and won't play anymore. At the height of interest, we had up to seven players all working together to try and make it through. Last week when I played we only had three players at the table. On average we are having about four players, but with the holidays coming up I think people are starting to get busier doing other things.
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Thursday, October 6, 2011, 9:55 PM
Hooray for us, we live again! Well sort of anyway. We lost our cleric kind of early in the game and our fighter had to go home before we finished up all 20 rounds. This kind of left us hanging with ranger, paladin, rogue and wizard.
The game went pretty good considering though. We definitely learn really fast what works and what doesn't. We've gained a fairly good idea of what to expect and where of course our DM throws in some pretty good variations just to mix things up a little. The overall game is playing out well and Steve is a very good tactician which makes the game that much more challenging. I myself am actually having a lot of fun with the Lair Assault campaign.
It should also be noted that many players are taking notice and joining in. There seems to be a level of challenge in this campaign that attracts seasoned game players. They know that the odds are against them going into the game and everyone knows that Steve is very talented and imaginative as a DM making the challenge that much greater. Maybe that combination is the lure? Knowing that our combined efforts and helping each other with healing and spotting aren't going to be enough in itself we (or some of us) continue to modify our characters in various ways hoping to find that winning combination that will not only improve our chance of survival, but produce hard hitting attacks.
At this particular point, after playing through my 4th attempt at Lair Assault, it seems that trying to build a character with the greatest percentage chance to hit is key. As a ranger I selected a +2 great bow and chose hidden sniper. Then, when our cleric uses bless on the party I get another +1 to hit. After adding all my bonuses possible I'm usually around +13 to hit enemies of AC 19-22. Those are pretty good odds I think. Sometimes I think it is more important to get the hits in than try and focus on doing massive damage. What good is a great spell or big melee weapon if you can't hit the guy?
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Friday, September 30, 2011, 6:28 PM
I modified the original Dungeons and Dragons video I made with new soundtrack and subtle changes in the editing. YouTube doesn't want me spreading it around out of YouTube because of the EMI Music licensing stuff so I have to link to it. If you want to check it out, here is the link:
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011, 7:42 PM
Hooray for us! We finally made it through all 20 turns without a TPK! However we had an extra 2 more players this time around; a vampire shade and a rogue. They were definitely helpful. It made for an exciting night to say the least.
Usually we like to start somewhere around 6ish, but this doesn't always happen with people getting off work and traffic. A couple of the players this time weren't prepared when they got there so we had to fire up Character Builder at the shop and get them up and going quick. Our regular fighter couldn't make it so we had a friend build up a tiefling paladin for a healing tank. It actually worked out pretty good. We still didn't have a wizard in the party and I think we may be missing out.
The game actually went pretty well and the difference was the added two players. They had never played LA before so they really weren't prepared for what was going to happen. After a couple of blasts from the hell hounds they got the picture of the difficulty level. Now is a good time I should probably correct myself from an earlier post. I think I made mention that the hell hounds use a breath blast weapon, that is incorrect. The do some kind of blast 3 full body explosion and it really screws up the party if they tend to stay huddled together.
Without giving away the dungeon and spoiling it for others, I would have to just give some simple advice after running through this 3 times so far. This is what I have learned: Punch up your class major attributes as far as you can, healing potions, fire resistance, everyone needs distance weapons, climbers kits and thieves tools, try to focus on arcana, athletics and acrobatics, the shortest route is not always the best route, help each other as a team (no one gets left behind), go in expecting to die.
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Sunday, September 25, 2011, 6:56 PM
This time around our party came better equipped. We managed to recruit a cleric and our avenger changed over to a fighter. The rogue in the party decided to come in with a frost short sword and I bought some fire beetle potion and some flamebane potions. We still ended up in a TPK.
I think our tactics were right and we definitely came prepared, we just couldn't get any good rolls that night. Not only this but the DM also included a second hell hound since we had met the minimum requirements for PC numbers. Over the period of 12 rounds I don't think I rolled over a 10 to hit more than 2 or 3 times. It was absolutely terrible to watch and it was all in the luck of the dice.
Even though our fighter had really good intentions of hitting hard on the front line it just wasn't happening. The fire aura of the hell hounds was killing him. Then combine the ongoing fire damage with their breath weapon and it just tore him up. The cleric in the party used up almost every one of his healing powers just trying to keep the fighter alive. He must have taken the hardest beating out of all of us. As the ranger in the group, I was actually able to keep a fair distance from everything enough to be able to stay out of the aura trouble I just couldn't hit the broad side of a barn that night.
I ended up in a discussion with my buddy John who was playing the fighter. I asked if it was his “typical” character style and he said he normally plays a warlock which focuses on fire spells. Not a very effective character against fire enemies so he went with “tank” type characters. I flipped through the pages of the PHB and found some great cold spells that would accompany a wizard. I don't know if he will come in this week with that character or not. I just think in the Lair Assault campaign it would be prudent for player to focus on their playing style strengths which would be their preferred classes.
This obviously can make for an unbalanced party, but at least we are starting off with our particular choses classes that we are comfortable with and know how to work them to their greatest advantage. The ranger isn't really all that great of a class in close quarter situations like the map for Lair Assault, but I've been playing the class for so long I know fairly well how to get around that situation. I'll keep playing the ranger.
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Thursday, September 15, 2011, 7:41 PM
Last Monday we played our first Lair Assault from Wizards. I really enjoyed playing through the Encounters over the last few months and if it wasn't for having to attend school on Wednesday nights I would be able to continue to do so.
Talking with Steve and my game friends we were able to work something out for Mondays that allows me to be involved in Lair Assault which I though was extremely cool of them. It's hard to explain how disappointed I was that I wasn't going to be able to play anymore, but thankfully I play with some really good people.
The difference between Lair Assault and Encounters? Encounters is geared to create a level of adventure and enjoyment mostly for newbies combining a good story with a mild encounter each night to go with it. Encounters are designed to be challenging, but lienient on new players because lets face it; If a newbie gets their butt kicked and dies their first time playing the game the odds go up that they won't want to play again. We want everyone to have fun and want to be a part of the game and desire to come back for more. The more the marrier.
Lair Assault on the other hand is meant for the DM to try and kill you off; end of discussion. So build the best character you can or have experience with and of course you need to work with your friends to have a well balanced party. Just don't get emotionally attached to your character too much. We all have known people who did this and when they get near death they kind of start wigging out.
The premise as it was explained to us was that we get 20 rounds to kill off the enemies otherwise they will complete some world ending spell or plot and we lose whether we are dead or not. I think this is geared more towards the seasoned players like myself who can 90% of the time make game night, but not always. Lair Assault accounts for this since the plot is short and the assault can take anywhere from about and hour to 3 or 4 hours depending on how our team works together.
In this particular session, we only managed to scrounge up 2 other players besides myself, John and Greg. Steve played the role of Dungeon Master. We all start off at 5th level and I of course played an eladrin ranger. Greg played a human rogue and John played a goliath avenger. Since we only had 3 players, Steve cut down on the monster number by 1 to account for the small party. We ended up battling a fire elemental a hell hound and had to deal with some fire breathing statue. They were a lot harder to kill than it sounds because the fire breath kept kicking our butts.
First time out we did pretty good but still ended up at TPK (Total Party Kill). In the end Steve let us know how close we got to winning. We were 9 hit points away from killing the elemental and only 6 hit points away from the hell hound. I will be playing the same ranger over again but built just slightly differently. I still use the greatbow expertise but I think I will be changing up some one of my encounters and possibly a daily. John, I think may switch to a barbarian or weaponmaster; some kind of "tank". Greg I'm not sure about, but I think he's going to stay rogue.
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Sunday, August 7, 2011, 6:36 PM
I wanted to write this post in apology to my gaming friends who have looked forward to my weekly posts so that they can keep track of what we did and where we went. Over the last couple of weeks I've been working with an admissions advisor at the University of Phoenix. I am enrolling into the BS IT multimedia and visual communications program.
My hope is to finish something I started many years ago and to help advance my current career direction with structured education from an accredited university. More than that though, just an AA or AS degree wasn't going to do so jr college really wasn't something I was leaning towards. There are a lot of perks and advantages that come from being a member of a university that you just don't get from a jr college. Anyone out there who attended a university knows what I'm talking about.
It took me a long time to come to this realization and there are some things I will have to sacrifice to achive my goal. This very well means that I may not be able to attend the Wizards Encounters sessions anymore since Wedneday nights are the nights I'm required to attend the university. The rest of the week is study time so if my gamer friends are willing to play on a different night that may be an option for me.
Right now I have about three weeks of game to get through and post to bring everything up to speed then I thhink I will be trying to cut the post sizes down to just the nuts and bolts of the game (whatever that may be). In lieu of "Gamer News" notes I have taken steps to begin writing a book based on four characters that I created and possibly using a pre-fabricated dungeon as a story line. I know this is nothing new, but it's new to me and I thought I would give it a try.
"Game when you can"!
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Saturday, July 16, 2011, 10:23 PM
Note: This is a side encounter from an older dungeon that Steve ran us through since John couldn't make it. As he set up the encounter, I realized that trying to keep track of the actions of some 50 zombies and the adventurers was going to substantially hinder my being able to get into the game. Steve suggested that I just track Falcon, my character and generalize the rest of the game. So as written from a first instead of third person perspective. I think Steve may be a genius incognito.
Bunkered down against an undead siege, Falcon, Ueda, Django and our friend Captain Dragar must defend the the last standing outpost to prevent the evil necromancer and his undead army from entering into the free zone. We barricade three of the doors but there are too many entrances to try and protect against the undead army. Our only chance is to try and use ranged attacks to cut them down before they make it into the outpost. The zombies are slow and weak, but deadly if they get an attack in. They carry an infectious disease that turns living flesh into mindless undead if they should get a grip on you. We have to make sure to stay a distance away, even if they do make it through our barricades at all costs.
We start by doing ranged attacks through the windows at the horde that has surrounded the outpost. Django uses his shuriken, Ueda uses Lance of Faith and Falcon his arrows. Dragar hold the barricade at the front door with his shield. During the first encounter round no one makes any hits and we get concerned about how many are going to swarm us and how fast. The barricades will only hold up for so long and then we will be completely surrounded.
The second round starts and the horde has almost broken in, Falcon takes a shot and pegs one in the head dropping him instantly. The zombies start to break in on the other end of the outpost where Ueda and Django are defending. Ueda casts a spell that takes out 5 or 6 of them in one blast. You just have to love having a cleric around when dealing with the undead! Django and Falcon are taking them out one at a time with arrows and shurikens but there are just too many for that and although they move slowly they are starting to come in in swarms through the barricades and windows.
Our old friend Captain Dragar has been over run at the front door and bitten. He's down. Falcon starts using Rapid Shot to get a hit in on clustered zombies. It subtracts 2 from his attack rolls but at least he can get a shot off on 2-4 of them at a time. Meantime, Ueda has taken a position on top of a table on the other side of the outpost. He allows himself to become surrounded when he uses Turn Undead. I believe he took out about 5-6 in one holy blast of faith.
From a distance we can hear a voice call out “You are fools to try and think you can defeat my army”! Oh crap! Here it comes now. Some crazy necromancer is going to join into the fight. Now Dragar has arisen as an armored zombie. Just what we needed to make our day that much brighter. Falcon uses Clever Shot for 14 damage and slows down the zombie captain.
We hear a loud rumble enter the building. There is a wall that separates us from seeing what just entered the room, but whatever it is it's big. The necromancer makes his appearance and Ueda impales him with a Lance of Faith but it doesn't take him down. Th necromancer returns with a necrotic burst. No damage to our cleric with a natural resistance to necrotic magic. Then we see it. The rumble was coming from a giant undead troll.
The troll forces it's way through the outpost. Only Falcon stands between it and the last door to the free lands. The troll lands a blow on Falcon with it's great axe that drops him down to 2 hit points and nearly kills him instantly. The adventurers agree, take out the necromancer and the odds are that it will break the undead spell and save us all. Falcon is unsure of what to do. If he stays where he is, odds are he will die. If he tries to move then the troll gets an attack of opportunity which also could mean certain death. It all boils down to one shot which may or may not even kill the necromancer. Falcon has already used his Elven Accuracy and his action point. He is left with one shot only and it is all up to the dice roll.
The tension mounts from the adventurers as we watch the die come to a stop. CRITICAL HIT! The necromancer falls dead and the troll and remaining zombies turn to ash before our eyes. This is the kind of thing that rarely RARELY ever happens this beautifully. All as a matter of chance from the roll of a die and luck.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 10:00 PM
After defeating the bandits and retrieving information from Remy about the blackness that Entered into Nathel from a failed ritual, our wizard friend Jarren decides to explore adventure elsewhere as the rest of the party returns to Duponde.
We return to find four guards at the gate and make our way to the inn. It is fairly quiet inside except for a couple of patrons. One of which is an old wizard selling potions over in the corner. The bartender takes no notice to us and Captain Grimbold is asleep in a chair by the door.
We wake the captain and speak to him about the information we retrieved from Remy and he gives some background information about Evard's Tomb and the surrounding graveyard. He goes on to say that he and a small party of guards have recently returned from there where they encountered unspeakable evils and that he lost three good soldiers there. With no doubt this place being the root of all the dark happenings in Duponde he asks that we go there and root out the evil that has befallen the town and surrounding area. We agree and are shortly on our way.
With the map that we had received from Remy was also an old book bound in black leather. Looking for further information on what may be going on at the tomb, Ueda makes a history check on the book. He can determine that there is a terrible evil involved with it written in an ancient language, The Django takes the book and falls into a horrific trance as if staring directly into the face of all evil itself. He makes a saving throw and is released from the trance. He then drops the book and stabs it with his short sword.
The cleric then takes the book and tries to determine the source of the evil but is also absorbed into the trance. He also makes his save. A blackness of evil absorbs itself into Django. Fiery gothic writing covers his body and he begins to hear whispers of evil voices in his head. He approaches the bartender of the inn and the bartender returns with a look of terror. Django begins to become concerned over what is happening to him. The rest of his companions see no real difference in him, but others seem to.
Django then makes his way over to the wizard in the corner. He asks the wizard if he can enlighten him about his condition. He goes on to tell the rogue that he is cursed. The same curse that took over Evard many years ago. He then begins to spin the tale of Evard and the evil that became of him. The adventurers listen intently and know that they must stop at nothing to rid this curse from their friend and the surrounding area. This is a must do.
It is late and the party needs rest and preparation before tackling the tomb and the source of evil befallen Durande. Ueda announces that he is going to pray and seek guidance from his deity to help try and remove the curse from his comrade. In his sleep, the voice of his deity answers his prayers, but cannot provide the guidance he seeks. He must find another way and it may only be to dispell the curse of Evard entirely. He finishes his unrestful sleep.
In the morning the party heads outside of the inn and finds the curse of The Shadowfell seems to have gone and we begin our journey to the graveyard and tomb. When we reach the gates to the graveyard at the base of the tower we see on the path in front of us the three slain guards. To our left is a dark grouping of trees and from that darkness we can see what appears to be sets of glowing eyes. As we enter the gates we watch in horror as the guards rise to an animated state of death. It's time for the party to take actions.
Falcon uses his rope and grappling hook to try and get an elevated position at the base of one of the four large statues that line the pathway but misses his athletics check. Cleric Valenae uses Smite Undead on one of the ghouls and delivers a powerful punch that blows it back 25 feet and leaves it half dead and bloodied. Fargrim attacks with his great axe and misses his target. From the trees come our hidden adversaries.
Shadow creatures are an evil sort that are hard to get rid of. They meld themselves with ones own shadow and attack. Unless a saving throw is made there is no separating them from being symbiotic to your own shadow. They move when you move.
Djenga moves for an open shot, Kings Castle and misses. Then two of the ghouls make a move on our new friend Fargrim. One of them hits for seven damage and he is in a grappling clutch. This means his movement is hindered but he can still attack at a disadvantage. The other ghoul misses his attack on the fighter entirely. Ueda uses Turn Undead and pummels both ghouls sending them flying through the air and freeing Fargrim from their clutches. An excellent move from our cleric friend.
From behind the towering statues, on the right hand side of the corridor come two more ghouls. These are the flesh eating variety. We must keep our distance from these guys otherwise be literally eaten alive! The first one makes an attack on Django and thankfully misses. The second moves in on Valenae and also misses. Our friends have escaped this round.
Greg makes an attack on one of the shadow creatures CRITICAL HIT! DEATH! Excellent work by the warlord. He then makes a move action to flank one of the flesh eaters. Falcon takes a shot at one of the undead soldiers and misses. He then uses his Elven Accuracy to take another shot and misses again. Not a good round for the hunter. Django pulls a Trick Strike on the flanked ghoul and makes a nice hit which leaves it half dead and knocks it 5 feet.
The ghouls that had been previously blasted by the cleric Ueada move in to attack the slayer. He in turn shifts into position for an axe attack and deals eight damage. Ueda comes in again with a strong punch Divine Glow that hits all three undead soldiers killing one and leaving the other two barely moving. One of the flesh eaters makes an attack on Greg and misses. The other makes an attack on Valenae and grapples him.
Falcon takes a shot at the flesh eater to try and release his friend using Disruptive Shot. He hits and immobilizes the ghoul but unfortunately does not release his friend from its clutches. Valenae uses an Eladrin racial feat Fey Step to teleport himself out of the ghouls clutches and away from the shadow creature that was once attached to him. This was a brilliant move by our cleric friend!
Fargrim attacks with his battle axe and misses his assailing ghoul. He does however make his saving throw to escape his symbiot shadow. Django then fumbles his attack, but wait! The tattoos of evil on him begin to glow and something is happening. One of the ghouls falls instantly to the ground like a sack of potatoes, then another. However, the third seems to be somehow rejuvinated? What kind of madness evil is happening here?!
Falcon looses an arrow at the ghoul and misses. He spends an action point for another shot at his target and misses again. Falcon has been less than stellar with his bow on these undead fiends. Fargrim makes another attack with his axe and misses then moves into flank. Djengo uses his shuriken for a CRITICAL HIT! DEATH! Then Ueda uses his Lance of Faith on the last standing ghouls and takes it out. The party is victorious once again. All we have left to do is enter the tomb and vanquish the evil inside.
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Monday, July 11, 2011, 9:22 PM
Continuing our journey to Evard's Tomb, our adventuring party is joined by Fargrim The Slayer, Jarren The Mage and Valenae The Cleric.
After defeating the spiders and helping the guards to enter the armory so they may equip themselves for the ensuing battle, our group heads back to the area where we had previously encountered the pixies and toads. While cautiously crossing the stone bridge we notice a campfire raging in the distance and attempt at taking a closer look to see if we can make out who it is.
Next to the camp fire we can make out that it is Remy, the mage's aid who we had met previously at the inn. He seems tattered and is in the company of 7 bandits that are standing guard around the area. We have the element of surprise and use it to our advantage. Our decision is to take out the bandits and save Remy for questioning.
Django moves in to shuriken range and deals 15. Falcon takes a distanced position and shoots immediately taking one of the bandits out. Fargrim rushes in and misses with his great axe. Then Greg takes a turn and also rushes with his great sword, miss. Valenae moves in to provide support to Fargrim and Ueda makes his attack with Lance of Faith for a miss. Jarren throws everything at them with Burning Hands which takes out another of the bandits and drops yet another by 15. He then uses an action point to pull off Pillar of Flame delivering more damage to our enemies.
Standard combat now begins after the surprise round. Django uses Sly Flourish with shuriken for a miss. He then pulls an action point for Trick Strike, CRITICAL HIT! DEATH, Ueda uses Lance of Faith and deals 7 damage. Falcon fumbles on his bow shot and takes 2. Valenae kills one with his mace and Fargrim attacks with Berserker Charge and his throwing hammer for 9. Greg moves in with his great sword for a miss but uses an action point for an instant kill follow up.
The bandits now get their licks in. One moves in on Greg for a 13 damage hit and leaves him dazed. Then another bandits tries to pull the same attack on him and misses. Ueda comes to Greg's aid and uses Healing Word providing 12 back. For his standard action Ueda calls on Sacred Flame for a CRITICAL HIT! DEATH! Falcon pulls a Clever Shot and kills another one. Valenae follows with Sun Burst and misses his target. Fargrim hurls a throwing hammer and finishes off the rest of the bandits. Leaving only Remy alive now.
Remy is very bloodied up and begging that we spare his life. He babbles on something about his master, the wizard Nathel and a tower. One of the clerics heals him to earn his trust and starts to ask him questions about what happened. Remey pulls a map from his bag and shows us the direction to Evard's Tomb which is the tower surrounded by a grave yard and seems to be the source of the evil happening around the town of Durande. He goes on to say that he was supposed to do some sort of ritual for his master but something went terribly wrong and an evil blackness was created that consumed his master. He was embarrassed to discuss his failure as a wizard.
Our next stop? Evard's Tomb.
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