When players get organized

Posted on : 07-04-2009 | By : Brian | In : D&D, DM's Journal, Session Reports

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I just ran another D&D session yesterday (a full session report will be up soon), and I had a few thoughts on it. We’re several sessions into the game, almost done with Keep on the Shadowfell, and the players have had four levels to feel out their characters and swap out abilities to get their characters exactly the way they want them. More importantly, though, I think they’re starting to get a feel for what each other character can do, and how they can interact with each others’ abilities to best effect.

The first fight of the day yesterday was against some hobgoblins (including a warcaster) and a cave troll. The party did a lot of planning going into it, and they wanted to try to bluff their way past the encounter. I ad-libbed a skill challenge, which they succeeded, and while they didn’t get to avoid the fight entirely, they did reduce the number of enemies they had to fight and they got a surprise round before the enemies got a chance to react. I thought that this fight would be very, very difficult. The cave troll, after all, is a level 7 brute with 99 hit points and regeneration 10; I thought he’d really give the guys a run for their money. Add to that the fact that there were other enemies to contend with, including a warcaster who I put in the fight specifically so he could throw PCs down a well in the middle of the room, and I figured it would be a challenge. I underestimated my party.

There were five hobgoblin minions, a hobgoblin soldier, the warcaster, and the troll. Sredni managed to push the soldier down the well by the first full round of combat, which did some damage and managed to delay the soldier for the rest of the fight (which only lasted 3 rounds plus the surprise round). The warcaster tried to throw Sredni down after the soldier but missed, and was brutally killed by Sredni, Chance, and Shava in a single round. Kraygin tied up the minions (as he’s very good at doing), taking them all out with a single dose of dragon breath (yes, that’s five enemies dead as the result of a single minor action). Then the party ganged up on the troll. Through judicious use of alchemist’s acid, a critical hit, and action points spent all around, the party managed to reduce the troll from 99 hit points to 15 in a single round, as well as negate its regeneration for a round. On the second round they dropped it, and Sredni finished it off with a coup-de-grace with his flaming glaive. Then they dropped the troll’s body down the well, on top of the hobgoblin soldier who had almost climbed all the way out. I think the troll managed to do about 20 points of damage total, and never got to use the ability that I put it in the fight for in the first place, the ability to pick PCs up and smack other PCs with them.

The PCs then proceeded to knock out two more encounters without taking a short rest between them; they knew they would be safe to take an extended rest once this part of the keep was cleared out (the defenders were running pretty low on healing surges), so they blew all their remaining dailies, which made the fights a lot easier.

Some things that I took away from this session, that I’ll have to keep in mind for future encounters:

Kragyin: this guy is a serious minion destroyer. If I want my minions to last more than a round or two, I need to keep them away from him, and keep them spread out instead of clumped up. If he manages to get into the thick of a minion mob, that mob will be dead very soon. Also, Kraygin is capable of some very impressive damage, so he’s almost like having a third striker in the party. That means I need to start using more solos, probably, in conjunction with other enemies.

Shava: she can really dish out the damage. Shava routinely does 15-20 points of damage per round, and probably gets critical hits more often than anyone else in the group. On a crit, with a single at-will attack, she can deal 2d6+18 points of damage, assuming she’s not getting additional bonuses from Sredni.

Silus: like Shava, this boy is a damage-dealing machine. He’s also a very slippery bugger. Between shadow walk and his cloak of distortion, he’s often imposing an attack penalty of -2 to -7 on his enemies. If they get close, he’s got a couple of powers that allow him to teleport out of Dodge. If he can’t, he’s got as many hit points and healing surges as Kraygin does, because of his high Constitution. He almost never uses those healing surges though, because he’s easily the least tempting target of the group.

Chance: boy is this guy durable. High AC plus lots of hit points and healing surges, and he’s got tons of self-healing abilities. Aside from second wind, he’s got lay on hands that he can use twice per day (either on himself or someone else), and warforged resolve is just a fantastic encounter power. He’s got improved warforged resolve, which grants him extra temporary hit points when he uses the power, and he generally waits until he’s bloodied to use it. He can go from bloodied to damn near full hit points with a single minor action. Also, when he charges he’s pretty devastating. He’s got a vanguard warhammer, which deals +1d8 when he charges, so he charges as often as he can. I can’t wait to see him fight some undead now that he’s leveled up. Between holy strike and cleansing challenge (both of which are nice abilities that deal radiant damage), he should mop them up pretty quickly.

Sredni: warlords may not have the healing capabilities of clerics, but they hand out bonuses like candy. The group loves to use action points because Sredni grants them a +5 bonus to damage when they hit, or some temporary hit points when they miss. That’s one of the reasons that the troll went down so quickly; almost everyone burned an action point on it. He’s also got several powers that grant either attack or damage bonuses, or temporary hit points. Add to that his wizard powers and, between him, Kraygin, and Silus, they’ve got the controller role pretty much filled. Minions just don’t stand a chance. Neither do brutes for that matter.

[Edit: dodge = Dodge]

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Comments (2)

“…powers that allow him to teleport out of dodge.”
FYI “dodge” should be capitalized, assuming you mean “Dodge City” as in “get the hell out of Dodge” and not “dodge” as in “to duck/move to avoid an attack”.

I actually meant the latter, as in “he dodges, then he teleports out of the dodge and into the dragon’s mouth”. So there.

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