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Month: November 2010

107. Treasure of the Sea (MYRE 2-1)

Our GASPcon fun began with a My Realms on Friday night. I don’t mind admitting I was a little nervous about playing some random guy’s My Realms adventure, particularly at P2, but it turned out to be really good. The set up was the kind of thing you’d find in a heroic tier adventure, but the GM – Michael Grancey – really played up the slew of adventurers who’d tried and failed to solve the problem before. Our characters were Baldur’s Gate’s last hope. I liked that.

The fights were also pretty interesting. Not insanely tough, but they had some challenge to them. It’s not that the PCs were uber-optimized, but me and Susan are used to working together, as were most of the other players, so you get stuff like me and Susan timing our attacks to keep a monster dazed with no save for two or three rounds. This is hard on big elites.

Fellow players: Nancy S. and her husband Richard, Ken W., and Joe S. Excellent start to the con.

106. Ghosts of the Past: Dark Portal (SPEC 1-3 P1)

Ghosts of the Past: Dark Portal – possibly the longest LFR module name to date. I have not done a comprehensive study. Mark B. ran it; Jason B., Susan, Evil Tony, Alan and I played.

The adventure has a rep for being brutal. It really is. We happened to have the right people in place for the stairs fight: I had good necrotic resistance, so I could easily stay static while the warlock disabled the big defensive ability of the problem monster. So that was one of the mean encounters handled.

We also did fine on the last fight. There’s an obvious save or die mechanism available, and I really don’t think the author intended GMs to use it. If you leave that out, the fight becomes really mean but survivable. On the other hand, you don’t want to spring it on players who don’t like bad status effects.

Susan was playing her cleric, Laela, and she threw down Consecrated Ground once we had the situation mostly under control. That meant we could reliably keep her out of the worst of the status effects, and none of us were in any danger of dying. Plus Consecrated Ground is perfect for dealing with the never-ending stream of minions.

If we hadn’t had the right combination of abilities, though, there are a few places where that would have been super-tough. My theme for the week, huh? I think this one is fair, FWIW. It’s a special and it’s reasonable to make it difficult. The one failing is that it’s not really a single slot mod.

105. Wetwork (IMPI 2-2)

Games & Stuff stays open till midnight on the first Thursday of every month so that people can get the early WotC releases as soon as possible. This makes it an excellent time to run those long paragon modules. I volunteered to run Wetwork, and Susan agreed to run Alone – she’d been wanting to GM down at G&S for a while.

My players were Evil Tony, the Bradleys, Amanda, James, and Hudson. You’ll note that’s five out of six of the players I ran for the previous Sunday. Did I wipe the party again? Oh, crap, yeah.

I don’t think there’s a tactical approach that would have saved them. The adventure is written such that the players don’t get a milestone. Personally, I very rarely use an action point in the first fight of a module, because I’d rather have one in the final fight no matter what – but that wasn’t really the breaking point. Not having certain ring powers available hurt just as much.

And the big bad guy at the end is really brutal. There’s a trick in the fight, which I’ve seen two or three times now in paragon modules, so I think I’m going to expect it from here on out. Still: if the trick wasn’t there he’d still be mean. He’s a solo, and he has backup.

I’d make one change in the module. If the party wants glory tier, don’t give them the milestone. In fact, that’s a good way to do glory tier in general. Beyond that, I’d leave things pretty much as they are, but I’d try and make people more aware that certain modules are meaner than others. Both of the deadly adventures I ran this week were run on high. Gotta be careful of that assumption, particularly in paragon.

104. Killing the Messenger (CORE 2-1)

Matt ran Killing the Messenger for me so that I could get Collin to level 13 before the weekend. (Anvil of Doom, yay!) I was joined by Eltherian, Jay Ibero, jbever, Eladar, and Zharm. Lotta new faces, which is cool.

I don’t have a ton to say about the module, although this was the first time I saw the “destroy the supplies” path from either side of the GM screen. Eladar played his Intimidate-based bard. Very effective, but maybe not quite as satisfying as doing the combats the expected way. Still, I don’t begrudge him his fun.

Collin hit level 13 after this and retrained with some ferocity: he took the Essentials human racial feature, took the new improved Essentials NAD feat, picked up a hammer, got Hammer Expertise for more distance on his pushes, and so on. All of this is awesome. Oh, and he can save against stunned and dazed at the beginning of his turn, even if they don’t happen to be save ends effects.