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Month: October 2010

103. Pain (CORM 2-2)

Pain was our Halloween run at Games & Stuff. I ran it for Jimmy, Amanda, Hudson, the Bradley brothers, and Mike. Hudson had played it before but had an awful experience, so I figured I could improve on it some. It’s a great investigative adventure when run properly.

The investigation went well! So that’s cool. Unfortunately, the plot branch I used has a final fight which went very poorly for the PCs. My monsters caught them in overlapping auras, and they didn’t really have any good way to handle it, which resulted in a sort of cascading failure effect. Not to spoil overly, but there’s a monster out there which creates new versions of itself when it kills a PC, and it’s not like you can decide not to use an aura.

I don’t think the adventure is unfair, although my players might disagree. I think that particular fight is harder on low level characters than most because of the death effect. I also think it’s a demonstration of the importance of mobility and forced movement control: they just had no way to change the underlying tactical disadvantage. You really want that at paragon tier.

Anyways, it wound up being my first… I guess not a TPK, because four PCs lived. The antagonist had no interest in killing people as long as they weren’t in her way. But if you look at it through an MMO lens, you’d say the party wiped.

102. High Infidelity (CORE 2-3)

High Infidelity was the first P2 game Susan and I played since Gencon. We needed a little extra experience before GASPCon, plus we always like tuning up our characters a bit. The always-reliable Matt ran (I owe him a run or two), and Eltherian, jredgiant, and misterjester played with us. By some miracle, we had a pretty balanced group: defender, two leaders, and two strikers.

The lack of control hurt a bit, but since Matt’s pretty reliable about focusing on the leaders, it’s always good to have two of ‘em. Reed performed quite well and got a +4 weapon out of the deal. I’m feeling good about the upcoming P2 play.

101. Arts (DALE 1-7)

Aw yeah, Arts. Who doesn’t like Arts? I ran this for jffdougan. It looked like we weren’t gonna have enough players, but then another game fell through so we wound up with him, AussieScum, ceneakor, Tsriel, AequitasXXIII, and Mike Lemmer. Fun group.

They really zoomed through the initial investigation. They found a clue I’ve never seen a group find before, probably because people tend to focus on the social stuff. Sadly, this means they missed out on the teaching. Then they hit the combats, which were appropriately brutal. They almost but not quite died on the final fight, which pleases me greatly, although in retrospect I should have taken it as a bad omen. For reasons which will become clear in the next few entries.

100. Where Dragons Die (CORE 1-15)

Wait, that was number 100? I should have had a cake. Darn.

Anyway, I got all enthusiastic and played Where Dragons Die right after running The Fardrop Incident. Tsriel ran; Xalcairn, Jay Ibero, Dareus, Elden, Genolen, and I played. There are, for the spoiler-ish record, a lot of dragons in this adventure. I like killing dragons when I’m playing Collin, so I have nothing bad to say at all.

Although the module does need to be fixed because some of the dragons use the preview stats instead of the final Monster Manual 3 stats. They’re a bit weak as is. But that’s not something bad, that’s just a handy tip!

99. The Fardrop Incident (EAST 1-6)

I ran The Fardrop Incident as a favor for Eltherian, so that he could get his barbarian to P2. I think the clever plan was to make sure he’d be available to play High Infidelity with us later on, and that worked out.The other players were Jay Ibero, Darklord, Elden, Knight4612, and Blackmantle.

Since this was a reasonably skilled party, and since they agreed to be experimental subjects, I adjusted all the monsters to the summer 2010 damage expressions. It worked really well; while I didn’t challenge them a ton, they found it much more fun. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you’re pretty sure your group can handle it, but it’s a great tool when used with care. And I did almost manage to get myself a perma-dominated barbarian, which would have been awesome. (“Fardiz. Go kill the cleric.”)

98. Hunters’ Down (DALE 1-5)

After, let’s see, 18 months, Alesk finally got the chance to finish off the Byar’s Seven quest with Hunters’ Down. Matt J. kindly volunteered to run it for me; eladar, Kazordan, jredgiant, AussieScum, and Dareus were the other players. I think a few of them were also on the quest, so that was nice.

I had fun, although it was kind of a bittersweet run. Alesk is not a stellar character and Essentials did not give me the rebuild potentials I’d been hoping for – he’s a Strength-based cleric, and Essentials is all about Wisdom-based melee clerics. I may yet rebuild him as a Wisdom-oriented character, but that sort of breaks some of the concept.

For now, he’s just hit level 8, so I can stick him on the back burner with a rebuild in my pocket in case I ever make up my mind. I suppose the really wacky idea is to bring him out again as a paladin…

97. How To Hunt A Demon (IMPI 1-5)

I needed to run something to get my slot score down a bit, and I always like running for Matt, so I asked him if he wanted an H2 and he said how about How To Hunt A Demon? Easy for me to run since I’d run it once before, so I said sure and that was that. I ran it on 10/7, with Matt, logopolis, Oskar581, Kazordan, Zalarian, and Gadunge.

We did not come close to a TPK this time. Good wizards, as always, make all the difference. Also, the third fight is easier if the PCs can maintain range – I think my earlier party had trouble because they engaged the enemy in the middle of the field. This meant the bad guys spent less time charging and got to do stuff other than basic melee attacks. On the other hand, I got to get off most of my sneaky gnoll tricks, which is always fun.

96. Curse of the Queen of Thorns (CORM 1-6)

My first LFR game in October was Curse of the Queen of Thorns, on 10/3. I think I signed up for this because there was an open slot and they needed a defender, if I recall correctly. Martyr2 ran; my fellow players were Jay Ibero, Eltherian, logopolis, Blackmantle, and Trident. We had a balanced party and enough offensive firepower so that I got to pretty much slack off and relax as a defender. Fun game, and now Collin is a Knight of Cormyr, which is a bit perplexing for him.

95. Quasit’s Just Reward (MYRE 1-1)

Woo-hoo, more Nixie Queen! Peter ran; Susan, David D., Stacey, Justin K., and Nick S. played. Oh, and me, of course. Kevin rides again! Despite being level 3 and finally getting to use his treasured Vicious +2 Talenta Sharrash, he did not crit all night. So sad! But he made good use of his daily to finish off a very nasty quasit, and he set up the daily with Roar of Triumph, and I action pointed specifically so I could trigger Roar of Triumph with the quasit in mind. So I feel good about that.

Sometimes I think too much while I’m playing, yeah.

Cool stuff: Peter is running this big old four level dungeon as a living My Realms dealy-bopper. There are potentially multiple parties in the dungeon. Each of the first three levels has a touchstone; you can use the touchstone to teleport further as necessary. We poked a little bit into the second level, did not find the touchstone there, but will look more next time. Bits of the dungeon that get cleared out are clear for the next party who comes along, unless there’s been restocking, which will also happen sometimes. This is why the teleport is important.

Also cool: getting to play with Susan, which actually hasn’t happened in way too long. Like, all month. So that was awesome.