At long last, my in-person D&D group has begun its second campaign. Last time Nate served as our DM and we began with an adventure from the Dungeon Delve book that Nate adapted to his own setting and that went into home brew territory fairly quickly. We ended up stopping that campaign after a few months when my wizard died and the rest of the party wasn’t feeling all that enthusiastic about their characters (except for Bree, who was fine with her character but was itching to try her hand as dungeon master).
With that campaign three weeks behind us, we entered the world of the Chaos Scar, which I believe is an adventure from Dungeon magazine. The Chaos Scar is an area where a meteor had fallen and shards of the meteor were sending out evil energy that corrupted the land and creatures around them. Bree was great about asking us to think about how our characters might fit into this world, how they got involved with the Chaos Scar, and how they’re connected to one another. I love that. Even better, when we got to the table she presented us each with an honest-to-goodness hand-made map on vellum paper!
How cool is that? It’s probably worth mentioning here that Bree is studying to be a professional artist. She knows what she’s doing.
Anyway, our party trekked into a cave in the Scar to try to wipe out a cult of Torog. The first battle involved us fighting some constructs who could use ranged at-will attacks to daze us – ouch! We took some licks but prevailed. The second battle involved a rope bridge across a chasm with archers on the far side and some semi-sentient mushrooms below. The two dextrous characters (my Avenger and Kyle’s Monk) crossed the bridge while the less-dextrous characters (Barbara’s Runepriest and Nate’s Fighter) crossed the chasm below. We prevailed there, too, but I took a lot of damage and used up all of my surges. The final encounter of the day saw us fighting the cultists and their leader in their little temple, during which time I mainly stayed out of the way and shot my ranged at-will attack that gave me temporary hit points. Even with that, the cult leader hit me with a ranged attack that erased my temps and dropped me from 18 to 8 (remember, no surges). Yikes. We finished that battle and searched the cult leader’s chamber and ended the session. We thought we were about to take an extended rest, but Bree informed us that the mushrooms were arising now that the cult leader was dead. This could get ugly for my Avenger!
I don’t have a lot of DM lessons to share today, except to say that Bree is clearly going to be a lot of fun as a DM! I did take away some player lessons, though I haven’t figured them all out just yet. At the very least, I’m certain that having my Avenger just rush headlong into melee is not the way to go, despite the fact that he really wants to fight in melee in order to use his Oath of Enmity. I have to let the tank characters get there first, I think, which is tough when I’m so mobile. I’ll probably lower my Dexterity a little in order to pick up more Constitution. That will lead to slightly lower armor class but higher hit points, more surges, and a greater surge value. Good tradeoff? I’d like to hear your opinions and suggestions in the comments about making a more effective Avenger.
That seems to be the problem with strikers – they get to the battle a round before the defenders who are supposed to protect them, and it’s a white-knuckle round of waiting it out.
A swordmage would help to fix that, since they have a lot of encounter and daily powers with teleports attached to them. With a fighter, though, I suspect that you’ll just have to be a little less eager.
Alternatively, the fighter could double move to be there in Round 1 – no attacks (and therefore no marks… unless he charges), but it at least gives the monsters a second target.
Yes, I think I’m going to try to adopt the “less eager” approach, though I’ll admit it’s hard to wait. I just want to get in there and bash things with a comically oversized sword (my Avenger uses a Fullblade). Ah, patience.