Monday, June 28, 2010

We Killed It and Took Its Stuff

I have not one, but TWO D&D sessions to recount, as these seem to be fairly popular (meaning one person has commented asking for more). I'll discuss our D&D Encounter from last Wednesday in this post, then post later about the game I played on Sunday.

Our intrepid party found their way into a canyon, where we found a rare fruit tree, covered in ripe, juicy fruit. The non-kreen in the group assured me that the fruit was delicious and succulent. I naturally had little interest in something so repulsive, though I pointed out that, as my companions ate the fruit, their own nutritional value was increasing. I was just trying to make conversation, but apparently my comment made them nervous. I will never understand non-kreen.

Suddenly, we found ourselves under attack from some nearby boulders. Goblin-types bristled at the top of some twenty-foot rocks, peeking out from among the brambles. It soon became obvious that the creatures could happily dodge among the brambles, but when we climbed the rocks, we found ourselves getting slashed and entangled.

One of our party members, Phye, found a rope dangling from the cliff, attached to some provisions. She climbed the rope, only to find a drake tied to the other end. She was soon fighting for her life against the goblins, though the drake itself was too busy trying to break free of its bonds to fight Phye. Yuka climbed up the rock face to help her, but they both suffered a huge blow when, upon defeating one of the goblins, a curse-bleeder (or whatever they were called) made its dying body explode so that it badly damaged both Phye and Yuka.

The most dangerous creatures were spellcasters who threw their own blood at us to curse us, which hurt us and made us more vulnerable to attack. Meanwhile, two snipers with magical rocket boots flew from rock to rock, peppering us with arrows along the way. I half-jumped, half-climbed up after them, then used my natural Thri-Kreen jumping to try to keep up with them. Phye had succeeded in loosing the drake, but its wingbeats did not dislodge the goblins as she had hoped. She needed my help, so I jumped over to her rock as she was dropped by some goblins.

Jarvix, meanwhile, was so engrossed in his fruit that he was nearly taken down before he could put up a fight. Soon he, too, was down for the count, leaving me, the stalwart Yuka and a cowardly Barcan the only ones still fighting, as Castri was MIA. While Yuka held them off, I fed Phye the magical healing fruit I had picked up from the caravan in the first encounter, and she helped us fight off the goblins while the drake lazily flapped away.

Yuka flung several goblins from the rock, where Barcan cleaned them up with chicken-hearted efficiency. We then got Jarvix back on his feet as we took out the last goblin, expecting it to explode again. We were all rather disappointed when it just fell.

This was the second fight so far where closing to melee range meant taking ongoing damage. In the first fight, it was the sandstorm that dealt 5 points of damage to any player outside the tents. In the third fight, it was the brambles. This feels like lazy scenario design to me. The designers figured that the Defenders fight in close range and can soak up a lot of damage, so they design the fights so that close range fighters always have to take ongoing damage.

Another gripe I have is that the enemies keep coming from all sides, making it impossible to set up a unified battle line. I have several abilities that depend on getting several party members "stuck in" to fight the enemy in close combat, and so far I haven't been able to make good use of them.

I'm not trying to say that every fight has to be tailored to allow the player characters to shine, and I'm definitely still having a great time.

One thing I should make note of is that last Wednesday's session was the first D&D Encounter in which we got genuine loot. We had picked up some healing fruit in the first encounter, but in the third we got a magic weapon (which went to Yuka, who had recklessly broken his beloved rope-axe weapon in an earlier fight) and a shrunken head made of wood (made, we were told, from a slightly larger wooden head!)

It felt a bit weird so far to go through two encounters without seeing a single gold coin for our trouble, so it's nice to get some loot, finally... even if I didn't get any of it myself, and thri-kreen don't understand the way money works.

See you in Athas!


bluefish said...

"and a shrunken head made of wood (made, we were told, from a slightly larger wooden head!)"

That made me lol. You're doing a great job making these poses very thri-kreeny.

maiki said...

I agree, I think the scenarios are really hazardous to the players. It seems like every encounter they are getting surrounded. I wonder if that is a theme in Dark Sun, the wide desert allows for easy ambushes(?).

I really, really wish I could give out more loot, but I am wary to upset whatever system they have going on.

I like playing D&D, and I am in this for the long haul, but I am pretty bored with this "format". I don't think it is going particularly well, and I feel like I could really expand on the story. However, I don't know anything about Athas, so I am not qualified to make a lot side-treks.

Something that was neat for the Tuesday game was the fact they had all fell in the last battle. I had them slowly wake up, bound and prone, privy to the silt lizards sneaking up on the nomads to take them out so they could claim the party for their own. It was pretty nice, and I think it ran better than the actual encounter.

So, there's that. ^_^