Moving right along with post number 8 for the DBloC Challenge.
Yep, I missed a day. I chose to check out the new Conan (the Late Night Talk Show Host, not the Barbarian) show last night instead of making a blog post. Part of that was based on an interest in the new show and part of it was procrastination.
You see, gentle readers, we got into a real grind situation in our 4e game last night. I'm running Revenge of the Giants as part of my campaign. I've been inserting hints and clues for months and months now, and even managed to loosely link two of the characters back stories into the story line. Everything was going pretty well, but, as you know if you've been following the blog, I've been getting a little burned out on 4e. We're planning a break in the action to try out some other games which should let me get back to the 4e action feeling rejuvenated, hopefully.
Anyway, our party of stalwart defenders have made it to Argent. They have met with Obanar. They have done a bunch of research and fended off some invasions....then the walls of Argent are attacked at two points. The first combat encounter took hours. There were a bunch of giants and a roc. The roc seemed totally over-powered for the party for some reason, even though the PCs are in the appropriate level range for the adventure. All of it's defenses, except for Will are 30. They never even managed to hit the thing. Eventually, I just had if fly away once they killed all the other giants. The party wanted to try to stay on the wall, which provided protection (and because they were terrified of being dropped off the 300 ft cliff), but they don't really have any big-time ranged damage hogs, so they were just kind of plinking away. Eventually, they got on ground, but not after having to expend a good deal of their dailies just to get through the fight.
|The "Freaking" Behir (wish I would have had the right mini).|
The combat started out great. They giant lobbed a bomb at the gates and caught a character in the blast. The behir swallowed an adventurer and he managed to escape after a round or two. The archon knocked some dudes on their butts. The adventurers were getting their asses kicked, but everyone was laughing and having fun. Unfortunately, since the previous fight was also pretty freaking brutal, they had expended a lot of their big damage powers, so things slowed down very quickly. Eight or so rounds in and most of the characters are bloodied and everyone is bored. The giant is down, the minions are gone, the Behir isn't even bloodied and they hadn't even hit the archon yet. I hand wave the random roll to get the protective wall up. I could have been there all night trying to roll a 19 or 20. If they players actually could have effected it, it would have been an interesting mechanic, but they didn't even know what was going on. Two rounds later, I had Obanar show up on the wall to help out. Yep. I threw in the over-powered NPC to save the players asses, mostly because I just wanted the thing to end. Even that wasn't enough. They all ended up climbing the wall to get out of harms reach, so I just ended the combat. I was bored. They were bored. Blah.
The PCs were then supposed to immediately follow the supply line back to the hill giant encampment, but there was no way the players were going without resting. They had expended everything just to get through those two fights. So I let them rest then we quit for the night. It was such an ordeal, that I didn't want to even get started into the next session.
Things I would change about these encounters if I were to run them again:
- The players can effect the closing of the protective barrier.
- The closing of the barrier ends the combat encounter
- More invaders of a lower level, so the players are more likely to be overwhelmed than over-matched.
- Opportunity to capture/force information out of the enemies
- Opportunity to escape if necessary.