So, I went to my first WWDDGD yesterday, and it was a blast. For those unfamiliar, WotC does one of these things every time there’s a really big release. Most of the time it coincides with a Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, or Dungeon Master’s Guide; this time Dark Sun was the theme of the day.
We played a short adventure in which our characters had to find a magical cistern that generated its own water–a valuable commodity on a desert world. I played Kuori, the goliath barbarian, and it was a blast. A few things stood out to me, being on the player’s side of the table during this adventure.
- Barbarians do sick amounts of damage. Sometimes this impressive offense comes at the expense of defense, as with a power called “Avalanche Strike”. This power does 3W damage once per encounter (yes, I said encounter), but grants enemies a +4 bonus to hit you for a round, meaning you’ll probably draw a lot of aggro (as the kids say). In the hands of this particular barbarian, who wielded a mordenkrad, it meant 6d6+11 damage, with 1s being re-rolled due to the morenkrad’s “brutal 1″ property. During a solo encounter against a creature called a tembo, I scored a crit with this power, dealing 56 points of damage in one blow. This triggered my barbarian’s rampage attack (a melee basic that did 2d6+7), which piled on another 20. I then spent an action point and blew my daily, dealing another 20 damage, for a total of 96 damage in a single round. That’s pretty sick for a 4th level character.
- While my barbarian was a serious engine of destruction, the monsters are no slouch now that the Monster Manual 3 rules are in effect. During the second combat encounter I engaged a powerful gith, once again dealing impressive damage with an at-will. For my trouble, though, he attacked me right back, knocking me from my full hit point value (49) down to 8 hit points in a single swipe, and knocking me prone to boot. I got my ass handed to me a little bit in that encounter.
- Short, minion-heavy encounters can be pretty satisfying from the player’s point of view. The first encounter had four minions and five non-minions, and it lasted just about the right amount of time. Our strikers were beating pretty hard on the non-minions, and they went down pretty quickly. It was a nice surprise when the fighter went over to the minions and killed three out of four with a burst attack.
- A striker-heavy party is great for speeding up combat. None of our combats really dragged, and I think that was in a large part due to the fact that there were three strikers in the group: my barbarian, a warlock that could deal up to 4d8+6 with an at-will, and a monk who was pretty effective at handling groups of enemies. During the first encounter, the warlock and I focused fire on enemies pretty regularly, and that wound up being a winning tactic.
- Saying “yes” isn’t always realistic, but it sure can be fun! At one point, we were trying to identify some cave mushrooms, and none of us were having any luck. As a joke, I asked if I could intimidate the mushrooms into telling me what they were, and the DM said, “sure, but you have to roll a natural 20.” I rolled and came up a 17, but then I showed him my tattoo, and he gave it to me. Not realistic at all, but very funny and it made the game more fun for everyone.
Unfortunately, for reasons outside of my control, I missed everything after the tembo. I had a lot of fun, though, and I learned something valuable: playing a barbarian is hella fun.