Posted by : David Guyll October 15, 2011

I ran my first Lair Assault session on Thursday to the tune of a total party kill, which took all of my resolve to follow through with given a life-time of running games in which I also want to see resolution. The four-man group consisted of a kobold rogue, human paladin, tiefling hexblade, and dragonborn knight. Not optimized and leader-less? How could I expect anything less...

Entrance
Here is where things started to go south. This room is comprised one-part narrow walkways, four-parts pits filled with oil. The opposition? A fire elemental and a hell hound. The pools had fish that you can eat in order to shave off 10 points of fire damage, but the downside is that you need to burn through two minor actions in order to pick one up and eat it. I think really the only upside is that the fire elemental only deals ongoing damage, meaning that you need to spread out its attacks in order to get any major impact, so hopefully whoever it spends the most time bitch-slapping took Superior Fortitude.

So the tiefling opens up with diabolic soul for the extra damage and fire resistance, giving her a grand total of 4. Whee. For the first round or two they were stuck on the starting platform fire-spamming themselves until they realized that having a powwow around the fire elemental was a bad idea. To try and make things easier I had the elemental provoke opportunity attacks whenever it could, such as when the paladin legged it across an oil pit to take on the hell hound mano-a-mordida, getting consistently by the fire-breathing statue.

Eventually they decided to just get the hell out of the room, leaving the paladin to take on both the hound and elemental at the same time. The hall lead to another fire-breathing statue, which the rogue easily took out with a simple Thievery check (much more economical than trying to chop through 50 hit points).

Forge
Running into the Big Bad Evil Guy on the first guess? Not bad, especially considering that you are A) on a time limit, and B) cannot take a short rest. This is good for groups trying to get the glory award for winning in 5 rounds or less.

A gotta say, Mordai is pretty fucking hardcore. Mebbe it is just my home games, but this guy was able to take an entire round of beatdown without me having to whip out a Bloodied token. He managed to use his scepter to smack the kobold into some fire, which got worse seeing as we had just hit the end of round 4.

With the temple engulfed in flames, the paladin ended up falling into lava, knocking her "unconscious" (it was super effective). So with one of the defenders down Mordai was basically free to lock everyone in place and blasting them with his minor action attack, while the elemental caught up and continued to light people on fire. The group basically hit a death spiral as the kobold was slid through more fire and then into a pool of lava, the knight mauled to death by a hell hound and Mordai's flunkies. Next round the hexblade bit it and then it was game.

Commentary
So...I think everyone lasted six rounds. I think that they would have had a chance had there been a leader, especially if it would have upped their group to five characters. Taking Superior Fortitude is great, especially because it shaves off 3 points of ongoing damage and is untyped. Better than taking a fire resist 5 item. Another good tip is for melee types to snag fish out of the pools on any turn in which they do not move: ignoring 10 points of fire damage is basically the same thing as ignoring a single hit from the fire elemental, and most if not all the damage that the hell hound would dish out.

{ 6 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Scott from PortlandOctober 17, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    OH man. I want to DM this for my crew soo bad. They, being power-gamers, have a tendency to run right over whatever is in their path. I called for a break from 4ed after a Brute-class monster four levels higher than the party took over half of his hitpoints in damage, in the space between "the monster's turn begins" and "the monster takes his first action." All indirect, from a zone and summoned minions.

    Is there a method for verifying the "legality" of characters for these events? Are players on their honor for following RPGA standards, or is there an approval method?

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  2. I did not bother checking anyone's sheets. I do not know if there is an "official" way to do so, but the two main things to check are the stats and levels of the items they picked (level 4, 5, 6, 840 gp to spend, only one rare, no more than 2 consumables). The stats can be tricky to quickly check, but really I think the only problem players would potentially be the ones writing it out on hand, since CB does not allow homebrew content.

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  3. How did the party get to the forge so quickly? If they went down the rune hallway did they not have to fight more monsters? Not to mention the sever penalties that they encounter by taking that route? If they went through the small room how did they get through the door to the forge so quickly? The door requires a pretty high DC Strength check (not an Athletics check, Strength check). In two of the games I’ve DMed where the PCs went through the small room it took them 4 and 5 rounds respectively before they made it through the incredibly difficult door. Short of a natural 20, which still won’t be enough without at least one other PC assisting, I’m amazed and impressed that your group got to the forge so fast. At least they realized that running past the monsters is often a better option than fighting them all to the death.

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  4. Actually I did not read that part. Oh well, they still died all the same. :-)

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  5. I think every DM missed a few details their first time through. As long as everyone had a good time and the DM killed all the PCs then all is as it should be. :)

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  6. tief with diabolic soul would be 7+5=12 / 2 = fire resist 6

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