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WAR! - DM Comments - The Hammer and Cross Mission Jan 29th

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I don't know about you all, but I was really, well, entertained.

Not too many surprises in the opening battle with the assassins. Kinda wondering why the Warden kept chasing after the fleeing doppleganger when the mayor was in danger and his companions are trying to battle two fire elementals. I was basically able to take Walster completely out of the fight for about four rounds with one 3rd Level monster. Yes, Oz(wald) the werewolf assassin was an elite with over 150 hits, which seemed like more due to regeneration. This was an EL 7 encounter. I thought it was really key when Hayden swapped places with the mayor, that a long way toward saving him.

Now I thought the party was going to evade the Royalist security patrol along the front lines. This was an EL8, a fun battle but one that would sap party hit points and items that could be used to complete the team's mission. At least the party concentrated fire a little better during this battle than last. The party efficiently took out the minions in short order (hey, they were all 7th, +12 to hit AC for 1d6+3). The dazing from the archers hurt the party a bit here.

Wisely, the party does avoid a fight in the next encounter with the HoS. This was a EL6 but the two leaders were very high level and could have seriously injured or even killed a PC. Good job by the rest of the team in talking Hayden out of taking out the five ELITE Pelor bridge guards. are an elite strike team, operating deep behind enemy lines. You are basically alone with no on-call reinforcements. If you had attacked the five man team who are on a well travelled road that serves as a main route for Royalist troop columns and daily supplies in this area, any chance that the bridge team could have had backup nearby or that they could sound some kind of alarm and any Royalists that just happen to be using the (main) road might move to investigate?

Loved the trap with the Geyser, didn't you all! I know, let the guy with really low perception run up first to the enemy holy symbol that's in plain view; it can't possibly be a trap or an alarm to guard a likely approach to the bridge that's being guarded a short way away, right?

Now, Prestonee's group was kinda NE and not super loyal to the rebel cause. I was a litte surprised that the party didn't open the coffer themselves to count the 2K gp that was in there. The path of least resistance was to pay the mercs, but if the situation became ugly, well, Commander Turco might be understanding if the mercs struck the first blow but he may not have let SF Black keep (all) of the cash in the coffer. The mercs was an EL6.

The battle with the basilisks and lizard men was an EL10 and designed to be the highlight battle of the night. This was about as tight as it can get with two PC's going down and making death saves and Hunter being 3 hit points from death and after the battle, the party using every surge and some PC's not being back at full (I think the only one with surges left was Kebru with two). Maybe it was the way the battle developed, but the monsters stayed up a long time during this battle. The concentration of fire here but far inferior (I thought) to the battle vs. the Holy Archers of Pelor. The dice here were crazy, I was either rolling 1's or 20's. Since Cedarik wasn't here, Hunter was probably the worst PC to go down as he was the only one left trained in Heal. Moving up and behind Hunter's hill as a group might have been good, allowing the party to cut off half the monsters by hiding behind the hill, so then you could have concentrated on the east side (where Kara and Hayden started at).

Oh, I also loved the gnome running into the ruined temple. Entertaining the DM is important. You guys caught a break here as for the first 35 hits or so, I forgot that the statue had a "Resist All" value.

So, what does everyone think, how badly did the team miss the Shaman? If Ross would have been able to make it, does anyone think that things would have gone much differently? Note, there would have been additional monsters in every encounter to raise the EL so that it would be the same as what is typed above. With no leader, we basically had two and a half strikers and two and a half defenders. Note, Kebru absorbed over 150 hits during the adventure and Walster took like near 200 hits! That's a lot of damage considering they are both AC 23.

Other thoughts, comments?

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Ken wrote in another tread - Note:
I haven't posted comments on the last War adventure because I wanted to see what others thought. To me... It didn't feel like one or two of the encounters had their EL counted correctly... They were much higher than listed. (Archers with an area burst Daze (save ends) vs 6th level)?

Ken, was there any other observations, comments or chatter on the last WAR! adventure, esp concerning EL, the party's play, and the general flow of the adventure?

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I wrote this about a week ago and was reluctant to post...

Sorry, I hadn't posted because I didn't want to come across as too harsh or winey...

It wasn't a good day for my PC, mostly due to some good dice rolls on your part. That's all part of the game, but felt very "beat down" after the session.

I liked the first encounter, but would have liked to have seen more about why the Mayor was being assasinated and how he's going to be protected in the future. Why did the assasin's strike just as we came into town?

The second encounter seemed much higher than 8th. Archers with a burst 1 Daze (save ends) that also does damage. That seems a bit high for heroic. I ended up taking on one of the leaders pretty much by myself, the guide tried to help, but I don't think he hit once. My PC ended up getting knocked out in about 4 rounds. I thnk my PC had probably the highest defenses in the group and seemed to get hit almost every swing. Again, could be just bad luck... But I think a level 6 PC should be able to take out a level 7 NPC without going down.

Wasn't too fond of the trap either. It did sap Hayden's resources, but seemed out of place. Maybe a trap on the temple would have been better.

The "lizardmen" weren't too tough. They were more of a distraction for the two level 10 Basilisks. +15 vs Fort is going to hit pretty much anyone in the party with a 2 or 3. I think you ended up rolling a 20 about 4 times with these creature each time doing 21hp and 5 ongoing. One took the ranger out and 2 on me took my PC out. I think the dice beat us on this one, but that's always a possibility when going up against a stronger opponant.

Everyone was pretty beat up by the time we got to the last encounter and no one really wanted to go in. I think the blind NPC is the one that triggered us to actually go in. The statue wasn't too tough even with resist all, but the ability to dominate multiple PC is very powerful.

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Good question regarding the mayor, the party will find out soon why he was targeted. As far as the timing of the assination attempt, I'm sure the assasins didn't plan to strike just as the Elite Strike Force, SF Black, arrived on site. If the assasins had known the skill level of SF Black, I'm sure they would have waited until the mayor was not so well guarded. Don't you think this was a case of really good timing (for the mayor) that the party arrived just at the right time to foil the attempt?

As far as the second encounter, yeah, I really liked the archers. They're reskined right out of the book. I did change thier race (and they lost all thier special racial powers when they turned into human soldiers) so they should have been a little easier. I also changed thier regular damage type from what it was, to "Radiant" which I thought was more appropriate for "Holy Archers of Pelor". In addition to some hot dice by the DM, the five leader monsters (3 archers and 2 swordsmen) stayed up a long, long, time. Kara initially blasted minions (correctly so)and then concentrated on 1 swordsman, Walster concentrated on the 2nd swordsman, Hunter concentrated on 1 archer (the one shooting at him), Hayden and Kebru concentrated on the remaining minions and then helped everyone except Kara (am I remembering correctly?). Even though the guide didn't hit, the guide got hit a couple times; blows that could have gone in Kara's direction so in that respect the guide did help a bit. Again, in this battle and in the Lizardman battle, at least against Kara, I was rolling red hot.

The trap on the river was meant more as a symbol or territory marker. I never dreamed that any of the PC's would just charge right up and yank the enemy's golden holy symbol (that was in plain view) out of the ground. I asked Kobe what his PC would have done and he said "It's a trap! Throw my shield at it or go around, duh."

Yep, the lizardmen were just meant as a shield for the melee type PC's to beat on, giving the basilisks more rounds to launch attacks. Again, the DM's dice were (selectively) hot, scoring a ton of crits.

The temple...well, Walster's suggestion was the optimal suggestion. Go to the temple and OBSERVE from a distance. If the party had done this, instead of rushing forward, opening the door and moving inside, the outcome just might have been a little different... Rolling Eyes Yeah, the party was way too beat up at this point to take on even a EL+0 encounter and I suspected that this might be the case at this stage in the session. However, the DM is totally unable to control or accurately predict the actions of every PC.

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