Posted by : David Guyll March 23, 2009

Since Red Jason was out sick and our DM for the night, Adrian decided to run a level 1 delve out of Dungeon Delve, which allowed us to give the PH2 classes a spin. There were only three players, and as in many cases I was called upon to perform double duty with two classes I hadn't played before: the warden and shaman. Delves are simple three-encounter endeavors, and Adrian was happy to be able to run something with the sole intent to kill as opposed to entertain a prolonged story.

The party consisted of a minotaur warden, dwarf shaman, dragonborn sorcerer, elf druid, and goblin barbarian. We didnt try to do much social role-playing, as the notion of a village hiring up such an unlikely and bizarre band of heroes didnt do much in the way of immersion.

The first encounter was kind of confusing with the way Adrian mapped it out. This makes sense since he didnt map it out in accordance with the actual map, so various terrain features ended up perplexing the lot of us. In hindsight Dungeon Tiles would have made things a lot clearer with a minimum of setup time. Even still, we prevailed without much difficult and with all of our daily powers, something I use as a barometer for when its time to leg it.

Encounter two was far more frustrating, especially since Adrian let the kobolds drop a statue on us as a minor action. I cant blame him: the first encounter went by pretty easily, and I think he just wanted to make us sweat...a lot. He also misinterpreted the save ends effect to include both prone and immobilization, which would have been really bad if my warden wasnt able to make a save at the start of his turn.

The last encounter went by a lot quicker despite the overflow of minions, throwing an extra slyblade into the mix, and an elite dragon: Josh burned his daily, action-pointed an encounter, and wrapped things up with dragon breath to bloody the wyrmling on the second round. On the flipside, it recharged the dragon's breath weapon, but that only really affected the goblin barbarian.

In the end we succeeded despite Adrian adding more things to the mix. Knowing that it was only three encounters long I hoarded my action points and daily powers, rolling them out on the wyrmling. I had a lot of fun with the shaman, and had more fun with the warden that I thought I would have.
The shaman, as I'd expected, plays a lot like a Final Fantasy XI summoner in that you mostly move it around and trigger attacks with it. You can use a few ranged attacks, but you're a soft target (I had an AC of 13 I think). The leader-benefits doled out by the spirit companion are very nice, and I found myself teleporting the spirit about and using it as a kind of "ground zero" for formations and setups.
I dont think that the warden is a better defender than the fighter, despite the free marking ability. I never actually got to make any attacks with it, and I didnt get to mark a whole lot of monsters since they didnt try to clump around him. His attacks are thematic and useful: I used one to effectively prevent a kobold from running away, but otherwise was able to ramp up my AC to 20 with the other one. The daily-form power is also really cool, similar to a barbarian rage but still different mechanically and thematically.

We all had a lot of fun tonight, and it makes me feel a lot better about purchasing Dungeon Delve. Adrian and myself are strongly considering pitching this as a monthly event at Knightfall Games, once we are sure we can make even that commitment. I think its an excellent way to introduce new people to the mechanics and get a feel for new characters.

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