This is my second stab at doing a delve run using playtest or otherwise new material. Andrew at Silent7Seven suggested I use a lot of their stuff this time around, and I was happy to jump at the opportunity since while I thought it looked interesting, wasnt sure how it would hold up to use. Since I'm cramming for finals, this isnt necessarily a more evocative delve, but it is longer.
Meet The Party
- Garrison (human rune soldier)
- Garrol (shifter bard)
- Howl (warforged druid)
- Xan'tchack (illithid sorcerer)
- Thrystan (dwarf totemist)
This was problematic because I was, again, on my own in this endeavor and had to rely on several notepad documents, scratch paper, and pdf files on a continual basis. It took quite awhile to get through this delve run, and one thing that helped was that I wrote a primitive transcript so that I didnt boggle events, hopefully making it more organized this time around.
Encounter 1 & 2: Goblins! (500-1000 XP)
This encounter started as a single 500 XP wave with the potential to add in another 500 XP of monsters if the players made too much noise. I determined this by rolling a d20, with a 10 or higher signifying that the other group noticed something was going on and decided to investigate for...whatever reason.
Here's the opening shot of the forest before combat breaks out. I think at this point I was still trying to figure out where the party would enter, eventually deciding on the upper-left side. It was far enough away from the camp that it made it easier to justify how the hell the other goblins wouldnt immediately notice or hear combat breaking out.
So, the party universally rolls poorly on their Perception and Stealth checks, meaning that the goblins get a free surprise round. They spend their time basically diving for cover so that they are better protected the following round. This proves to be very good given that they also do really well on their Initiative rolls...
From a very safe distance, the goblins still manage to get in a few licks in before the party can retaliate, nailing Howl for 10 damage.
The only viable tactic I could come up with was to have everyone that had to enter melee to run (+2 Speed but grant combat advantage), but in the end Garrison still had to burn an Action Point in order to do anything useful. This was about the time I had to pause and quickly review how runes worked: Garrison used rune strike in order to deal damage and apply a rune of inferno, which also dealt ongoing 2 fire damage to the goblin (save ends).
Garrol botched prophesied strike, while Thrystan used generic totemist attack and designated it as his prey, giving Howl the prey bonus. The round was handily wrapped up by Xan's use of mists of disarray, which rolled out 12 damage to one of the archers and pused it away from cover.
The goblins in area 2 failed to notice anything amiss, so kept sleeping, eating, arguing, or whatever the fuck it is goblins do when they arent being harvested for XP. None of the goblins managed to hit anything, but the one taking ongoing fire damage made its save. To make matters subjectively worse, they also noticed the blackblade skulking about a tree. As a temporary DM, I had hoped to keep it hidden a bit longer so that it could spring out and backstab a party member that would ideally be hoofing it for one of the sharpshooters.
On the other hand, the party did pretty shittily as well. Howl and Garrison both missed, allowing the goblin to scamper away, though in the end Thrystan managed to take it down. Garrol continued his missing streak with jinx shot (or is that jinxed shot?). The MVP thus far was Xan, who used induce mutation to good effect despite rolling minimum damage.
The warrior and blackblade both together in order to try and take out Garrison, but neither is able to land a blow, but he still takes an arrow while distracted. One of the sharpshooters panics and tries to flee, its shot going wild and missing Xan.
Garrison reapplies rune of inferno with a well-placed rune strike. Howl uses darting strike to tap one of them and get his ass out of dodge for the time being. I completely forgot about warforged resolve, probably because I kept forgetting that Howl was a warforged. Oh well.
Thrystan continues to use generic totemist at-will, which is basically him tearing the poor goblin apart with his claw-like hands, and giving the bonus to Howl on the off chance that it will actually work. In an unexpected twist of fate, Garrol successfully uses jinx shot. Finally, Xan continues to be awesome and deals 13 damage with induce mutation.
The goblins finally notice whats going on and decide to get up (eventually) and assist. One sharpshooter nails Howl, while the blackblade manages to give Thrystan a spinal tap thanks to his flanking bonus.
Howl leaps into the fray, missing spectacularly. Garrison decides to use rune strike to draw mark of the mindhand so that the blackblade will be forced to focus his attention on someone with heavier armor. Garrol uses majestic word, which is nice since you really cant fuck it up. This not only helps out Thrystan a great deal but moves him into a flanking position against the warrior, and at the start of his turn tears the goblin in half while also using second wind. Xan actually manages to miss.
At the start of Turn Goblin, the ones in area 2 begin closing the distance, using ranged attacks to make themselves known. A sharpshooter manages to drop Howl, and Garrison is bloodied by the blackblade and other sharpshooter. Garrison responds by killing the blackblade (finally!) with revitalizing strike, which heals him as well. Thrystan, suffering from a string of Garrol's luck, misses. Garrol brings Howl back with majestic word while simultaneously taking out one of the minions, and Xan manages to take out one of the sharpshooters.
Thrystan takes a critical bolt to the face and Garrol finally knows pain. Howl manages to scramble to his feet and take out the other minion, Garrison slaps a rune of inferno on one of the warriors, Garrol responds with a very nice slash from war song strike, and Xan bloodies one of the warriors with a nice 20 damage shot.
Thrystan takes another crit, the minion misses, and the sharpshooter decides to try and leg it to the dungeon entrance. Howl's favored form feat comes into play, and he is able to trip the warrior thanks to Combat Advantage. Thrystan cant hit shit, while Garrison pursues one of the fleeing goblins and cuts his head off. Xan immediately brings the sharpshooter into bloodied condition with a single critical mutation.
The last round went quick: everyone gang-banged the warrior, and Garrol finished off the sharpshooter just before he got into the dungeon with jinx shot. This encounter took quite awhile since I was rolling pretty badly for the players. I ended up burning through most encounter powers and Action Points, knowing that I was going to award them another after the battle was over since it was technically two combined.
The rune soldier gave me the most headache due to all the runes and effects that each rune has. It wasnt made any easier seeing as I was controlling five party members, each with new stuff.
I found that Howl was pretty easy to utilize, since his feat provided a nifty, thematic passive benefit. On a similar note, Garrol was easy to use since Moonleader only works once per encounter and does something very, very simple.
Xan was fun, though I found myself relying on induce mutation for almost everything since it was better than chaos bolt (which basically did the same damage but without the benefit). I was bummed that I never got a chance to use mind blast.
Thrystan would have probably felt different had I remembered to use his growl power that imposes a penalty and grants a bonus. All in all he felt a bit leaderly, which I think is totally awesome given the themes behind the gray wolf pack thingy.
In the end this was a fun exercise, and each character contributed well despite their shitty rolls. The only weak character might have been Garrison, since he has to use a rune to mark enemies, and that requires an attack roll to successfully pull of (all other defenders can do so for free or automatically with a minor action). If there was a way to more consistently mark enemies, it would help make him a lot more sticky.
Thats it for the first two encounters, I'll post the last one later.