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.