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Month: June 2010

65. Scepter Tower of Spellgard, Part 2 (ADAP 1-3)

This was the second game in our Scepter Tower of Spellgard run. For this one, Jason B. took over the GM job and Mark B. returned to the player side of the table; we also added Tom B., plus of course me and Susan and Hudson. The full explanation of the shuffle is here, for those confused.

Cine remained awesome fun, and he hit level 3 at the end of this section, which meant I got a ranged AoE at-will. I really felt the lack of that for the first two levels. I had high hopes that his effectiveness would increase as a result.

64. Through Twilight Boughs (AGLA 1-4)

I was pushing Alesk a bit to get to level 7 so I could do some retraining after the cleric nerfs, and Eltherian was kind enough to run Through Twilight Boughs for me. This was an online game; Kazordan, Maelwys, Eklinaar, EWInsight, and darksydex were my fellow players. I wanted to sneak this in so Alesk could keep progressing on that questline, as well. It was fun, Alesk hit level 7, and someday he’ll go do the pain in the butt final module in this major quest.

Collin Planning

A couple of thoughts on his future:

There are plenty of good fighter paragon paths, but I was looking at Bear Warrior the other day, and it’s surprisingly good for fighters. The key is the +1 AC and free second wind while raging. OK, so at level 20, you get one rage (and it’s a good one). But is that worth the multi-class feat and the out of class paragon path?

Well, if I multi-class Collin into barbarian and power swap his level 9 daily for Rage of the Death Spirit, that’s pretty darned good. Then I have two rages per day, which means he’ll be raging most of any given LFR module. He’ll get the amplified damage output I’ve been wanting, without giving up any of his multi-marking ability. And Rage of the Death Spirit is amazing for fighters: as a free action, at the beginning of your turn, you can mark everything within two squares. And you get a +2 to hit marked targets. Plus the two rages and the paragon path encounter power boost Collin’s damage, which has been a slight concern.

But I’m not at all sure I can justify it in roleplay terms. He’s a pretty calm guy, used to be a farmer and all. Is there any shapeshifting/berserkergang tradition in Chessenta that I could make use of?

63. Songs of the Heart (CORE 1-12)

For our second module of the evening, I ran Songs of the Heart for Jimmy, Amanda, Hudson, Mark B., Jason B., and Susan. It’s a really fun roleplay module that I’d never encountered before – I ran it at Jimmy’s request, since he’s on the major quest it advances. Conveniently, this is one of those major quests that you can start halfway through. Thus, everyone’s on it now.

I liked running it. Any time I can do a lot of quirky NPCs, I’m pretty happy. The first fight was a breeze for the players, which is fine. The second fight was stone cold tough and I think it’s worth rambling on about it for a bit. But beware spoilers.

The big bad has a dominate (save ends) effect, which is all good. That’s going to happen at this point in the game. I elected to have her use it on Susan’s character, Ensa, since Ensa was up next in the initiative order and I knew Ensa could do decent damage. I figured I’d pick up Jimmy’s wizard next.

As random chance would have it, Ensa stayed dominated for three or four rounds. This meant I was able to have her whale on Amanda’s cleric, Shava, who went down after a couple of hits. That made the dominate way more effective than I’d expected. This was somewhat frustrating for both Susan and Amanda.

If I’d gone for the dominate on Perun (the wizard) first, I’d have been doing more damage, but there would have been more healing thrown around and I don’t think I would have dropped half the party before they managed to recover. So from a purely tactical standpoint, that was good. On the other hand, from a standpoint of game management, I deprived Susan of any actions. She hadn’t gotten a chance to do anything before her PC was controlled. So grabbing Jimmy might have been better there.

On the third hand, four rounds of dominate is really unlikely. You can’t plan for the minimal chance. So I can’t really feel that bad.

I think in the end I like my decision. None of the players complained, so I’m not worried there; I’m more analyzing it for my own edification. At high heroic and paragon tiers, I don’t want to pull punches. The adventures have to feel more epic to be satisfying. There’s a somewhat bigger question here: I am fairly certain that daze, stun, and dominate effects are part of how the difficulty of the game is balanced at those levels, and you could argue that’s a suboptimal design decision. Rather easily. However, if it’s necessary in the game, it’s necessary in the game.

Monster Manual 3 monster damage output might change things, though. I’ll have to keep an eye on that.

We finished up around 11:30 PM, which is late but it was totally worth it. A fun day.

62. Shell Game (AKAN 1-5)

Last Sunday, Susan and I trekked down to Jimmy and Amanda’s place to play a couple of H3 modules with them, plus Hudson and Mark B. and Jason B. Jimmy was a module away from paragon, so that was a totally worthwhile effort. He started out by running Shell Game for the six of us. I played Collin, of course.

This was my first time playing with Jimmy as GM and I had a great time. He’s got a great hand with combat. Our party mix was a bit light on damage but heavy on healing, which worked out fine. Collin is definitely hitting his sweet spot: I can spend three rounds marking everything next to me, and by that time I usually don’t have more than two monsters left anyhow. He can keep two monsters marked indefinitely.

I got to plonk Collin down in the middle of four dragonborn and stay there for ages. Lots of getting missed, lots of healing. Very satisfying. Also at level 9, his Amulet of False Life is usable, so there’s another chunk of hit points for mobs to work through.

And that’s a great mix of people to play with. Lots of roleplay, not too serious, emphasis on social times. So good all around.

61. The Prospect (DALE 1-1)

Seems like everyone’s played The Prospect, although looking back, it’s been a while for me. I wanted to get in a game or two with Kevin before bringing him to Gencon for Peter’s Nixie Queen adventuring company, and this one was convenient, in any case. Darksydex GMed; Logopolis, Swiftshade, Eltherian, Gadunge, and Trident played alongside me. Online, as you may have surmised.

It was a nice speedy game. That final battle was very quick, thanks to a lot of skilled buff stacking. The fight against the bandits took a while, since they bottlenecked us. Kevin used up three heals in that fight and still finished it flat on the ground; he’s definitely a glass cannon. Fun to play, though. I also managed to contrive to give Eltherian’s battlemind the chance to use Mind Spike twice, so I felt like I’d done my job.

Kevin’s a halfling barbarian but I didn’t feel as damage-deprived as I thought I might. He still hits like a tank, just a somewhat smaller tank. He has lots of personality, too. I’m looking forward to his riverboat adventures.

60. Scepter Tower of Spellgard, Part 1 (ADAP 1-2)

Man, I keep getting behind. Gotta keep up! Next scheduled LFR is maybe Thursday, and if not then on Sunday, so I will try to post in a more timely fashion once I’ve played.

Anyway, last Sunday (see?) Susan and I went down to Glen Burnie again to play Scepter Tower of Spellgard with Mark B. Jason B. and Hudson were the other two players. It seems that Mark and Tom were stuck at the beginning of part 2, so if we played a catchup game we’d be able to slide into their adventure, Jason would slide over to GMing, and everything would be good. Since three lazy afternoons of Spellgard equals level 5, that seemed like a good deal, and now the project is underway.

It’s an OK module. The feel of a full WotC module shoehorned into an LFR game is kind of weird. You can tell it’s designed as somewhat more of a sandbox, but given the need to partition it into three segments, it winds up a bit too linear. I still had fun, and playing Cine is great. He’s prone to panic in battle, he runs around like a chicken with his head cut off, and he overreacts to being hit. Now that he’s second level, he gets to slide anything on the battlefield 1 square as a free action, which is awesome times.

59. The Gentle Giant (MYRE 1-2)

Mark B. ran his My Realms, The Gentle Giant, down at Games & Stuff so Susan and I came down to play in it on Thursday. It was quite the B. family affair: Jason and Tom were two of the other players. Evil Tony filled out the table. 

The setup was an inn in Akanul which was having spellplague problems. It was kind of a haunted house dealybopper, with lots of running around in the inn and isolation and so on. I enjoyed it a bunch, even though we ran out of time – a Games & Stuff failing, that. Also Mark prepared a poster for the local bardic festival, featuring Susan’s bard Faral, which was utterly cool and pleasing.

58. Elder Wisdom (TYMA 1-1)

I wanted to get in another H1 adventure with Cine before embarking on Scepter Tower of Spellgard, just to get him to level 2 and make him a bit more likely to survive and so on. I missed my first attempt at an online game, but managed to make Darksydex’s Elder Wisdom run on 6/2. Kazordan, Trident, Logopolis, EWInsight, and GC1CEO were my fellow players.

I would have to characterize it as a perfectly acceptable early H1 LFR adventure. It’s a bit disjointed without a ton of storyline, but there are a surprising number of hooks for the RP-inclined player. They just don’t necessarily have a ton to do with each other. It sort of makes sense given that the setup is all about scouting some ruins. 

It was fun playing Cine. I’m definitely getting a handle on his personality. He panics in combat, which is awfully fun to play.