Deeper in the vortex, confronting the diseased visions infecting memory and legacy – yes, it’s 4th edition D&D, played with guts and glory. Eneku, Runt, and Ezhelya get to the center of it all.
I was embarrassed to realize, while reviewing the video, how sincere some of the content was for me. I can hear James laughing already … but also, check out everyone’s faces when Ezhela let “it” in via her emotional powers, and also a few details into my description of their foes during the fight.
This session finally revealed the map, fleetingly anyway, so “the dungeon quest” is now solidly under way as far as the characters are concerned. I included a lot of graphics in the video so please check it out, especially for the unusual circumstances of the combat.
About that fight – the video begins with me reminding the players about untyped combat bonuses, the ones that don’t default to the highest single bonus of a given type, and therefore can stack. I wanted to get them up to speed on that, because I’ve set up all my encounters to play them to the hilt myself. I say with pride, if you play D&D 4E badly, I’ll kill you dead real quick, and playing it well simply means better role-playing anyway.
In the encounter they went into, the foes used the Human Rabble monster from the manual, which are minions. That’s not trivial in this game – indivdually potato chips, they still get mass attacks and these ones get bonuses when mobbing someone. The encounter space included tight squeezes, and as I tweaked the monster description, these guys were able to move on the walls and ceilings, thus could flank while the characters were hampered in moving strategically. Flanking and similar advantages (e.g. vs. prone opponents, which applied vs. some of the characters as it turned out) all stack, so in addition to the mobbing, these guys could really hit. Add to that the three-dimensional attacking, and given even slightly lucky rolling, a given player-character could be subject to 30-40 points of damage in a single round, enough to kill them at this point.
That’s why this fight was very contingent and quite exciting, because through a semi-tactical, semi-lucky combo of skills and powers, the players managed to get their characters back-to-back triangle in the biggest space they could for the best defensive position possible. I especially liked that when Ezhelya was bloodied, that triggered her Ardent Alacrity, which permitted Runt to get himself precisely into that position in a fashion that would otherwise have been substantially later in the fight and subject to a difficult roll. After that – again, only partly-planned I think – two of them concentrated on physical combat while one continued the Skill Challenge, ultimately succeeding that way. Even so, one character ended pretty chewed-up, and I don’t know if the players realized just how close they came to getting torn to pieces, if the tactics had gone a hair differently, especially early in the encounter.
This game is about getting into fights, but it’s also about how the fights matter. I’m using rules to do this, not “Ron brings his fancy GMing into dumb-ass DMing” at all. I think they’re the best rules toward that end I’ve seen under the banner of this particular game title. Ask if you want to know.