Actual Play – Guild Wars in the Swamp (1/23/2009)

GM: Dungeons & Dragons

We picked back up the D&D game with our characters apparently forgetting that we wanted to find the lady who might have had a lead for us and instead following a priestess of Chantau (sp?). Our characters were asked to go look into some missing peasants outside the city. One of our guild leaders was an acolyte of Cantau and so there was some minor gain by aid her with work that wasn’t officially our job, extra credit if you will.

In my character’s case, he wants to find out who our enemies in the baker’s guild are so he used this as an opportunity to spend some time with the guild leader he knew the least, Jenny. His appraisal of her was that she was a very earnest in her religious devotion, but he didn’t really get a chance to talk guild politics with her. Maybe this will serve as a intro for further investigation.

The game them proceeded to three fights. The first with some lizardmen who we found were in service to a hag, then with the hag’s guards and finally with the hag, who turned out to be three hags, and some REALLY tough orcs. We prevailed but just barely. Ace has a suit of “bloodcut” armor that give him Resistance 10 to all damage when bloodied for a round when used. In the particular round that he used it in, it absorbed 50 points of damage that would have otherwise DESTROYED him. In the end he had used up ALL of his healing surges, and had 3 hit points left. It was a brutal fight.

What rocked

In each fight there were environmental elements that REALLY tipped things in one favor or another. With the lizardmen they had difficult terrain (swamp) which they treated like normal terrain. Interestingly, the difficult terrain ended up being daunting enough that none of us entered it. My character resorted to his crossbow when he usually prefers a blade as he is much deadlier with one in his hands. The other characters ended up immobilized for a time and generally less effective. In fight number two, we snuck in and found a harpy, with some Aracna checks learned about her alluring call and stuffed our ears with wax before entering the fight. It made the harpy ineffective and we did very well in the fight. In the last one the three hags were controlling two BRUTAL orcs, who were kicking our butts. Eventually we figured out how they were doing it, shattered the gems of power and turned the orcs from allies to at first fighting each other and eventually fighting the Hags (though really not until the very end of the fight).

We found out at the end that we discovered a letter that would tie the hags in the swamp back into guild business. If we hadn’t I would have felt somewhat like this was a “throw away” adventure with no relevance to the main storyline. As is, it turns out it is connected, which I’m stoked about.

What could have been improved

We had some debate over how AoE sustained spells work. They all read in a creature enters the region or starts his turn in it, they take X effect. In the case of stinking cloud the region is movable and this created the question if I move the region onto someone does that count as them “moving into” it. I thought that made the effect WAY to powerful but the other agree that is how it should work. I’d like to know the official ruling on it for next time as if that is the case we should change our strategies accordingly.

Again, the dice were brutal to me. I had +15 on an attack, there is no reason I should have missed it, but I still did and crap went downhill from there. I rolled really poorly on nearly every attack roll that mattered. Then I would roll really well on skill checks that were kind of peripheral. So, in the end, I started hating my d20. You know, it’s just the case, as I’ve said before that I want to see something happening each action and when I don’t, well it’s frustrating.

To compound that frustration, I didn’t feel like I could fulfill my roll. I’m a striker, supposed to get in, do a ton of damage and then get out. Instead I got in, missed and got the crap beat out of me. Right next to me the defender waded in and did insane damage. To the point where I’m re-examining how I created the character to see what I did wrong.

Defender: Dwarf Paladin using a Maul. +9 to attack, 2d6+8 damage (+4 from strength, +2 from Dwarven Weapon Training, +1 Weapon Focus, +1 Magic weapon). His more powerful attacks are doing 4d6, 6d6 and even 8d6+11 damage. His AC is higher and I’m pretty sure he’s got more hit points.

Striker (Me): Human Rogue with a Short sword +10 to attack 1d6+7 damage (+4 from dexterity, +1 from weapon focus, +1 from magic, + 1 from two weapon fighting). With a sneak attack I add 2d6+3 (from strength). End result is that on a basic attack I can do 3d6+10, on my most powerful attack I can do 4d6+14. Yeah, that seemed like a lot, but it just isn’t. Were I to have taken a more dangerous Daily Power, I think I could get it up to 5d6+12 or so, and of course all of these attacks are assuming I have combat advantage, which isn’t hard to get, but often puts me the position of having others gang up on me because I’m the one exposing myself. The fight has several times looked like this.

Party <-> 1 Monster <-> Ace (My character) <->All the other Mosnters

So, great, I get a flank, but now I’ve got an ass ton of guys on my head.

I don’t hold this against the defender. He made a good build and I commend him for it, I’m just frustrated that between dice rolls and weapon inferiority, I’d be contributing more to the group if I just made a clone of his character.   I start thinking about this and start wondering how the game would be different if it were Burning Wheel instaed.  The truth is BW isn’t the answer to everything, but man did I miss me some FoRKs!

4 thoughts on “Actual Play – Guild Wars in the Swamp (1/23/2009)”

  1. Some thoughts on damage output:

    I don’t know your feat structure, but if you can shake two loose, I’d consider taking Backstabber (backstab dice go to D8) and the Superior Weapon using feat, which would let you switch up to a d8 for damage. That wouldn’t get everything, but it would put you to 2d8+3.

    1. I have 4 feats (3 normally +1 for being Human). The feats are:

      Toughness (I took because of all the hits I knew I would take, it saved my ass in the last fight twice as I was down to less than 5hp two different times in the fight).
      Two weapon fighting (+1 damage)
      Weapon focus (light blades) (+1 damage)
      Quick Draw (+2 init and the very valuable free weapon draw, incredibly useful in surprise rounds or when switching weapons).

      At 6, my plan (as you’ll see in game next session) was to take the Paladin Multiclass feat which will create a nice synergy with Riposte strike (attack me and I get an interrupt attack back, attack someone else and take 5 damage), plus I get another skill, which I like. This will up my damage somewhat (essentially 5 ongoing to one target if they don’t attack me or riposte strikes if they do) and have some really funny implications as I try to “learn” from Striker.

      My plan for 8 was to take Two weapon defense to get my AC and Reflex up some.

      Of these I could switch out toughness and quick draw for the two you mentioned bringing me up to 3d8+10 and 4d8+14 on torturous strike. Hmmm…

      Good food for thought, thanks for the suggestion.

      1. I’d personally suggest shaking out Weapon Focus, unless you need it? Dropping +1 light blade damage to pick up a d8 light blade an another offhand light blade with High Crit (kukri, I think is the name of it), might work better.

        Especially since the +1 can be absorbed by a magical Rapier.

        Another suggestion for overall damage is getting a typed weapon. Frost, etc, have +1 as per normal, and once per day, AFTER YOU HIT, you get to choose to add a d6 of the type. This strikes me as an awesome way to buff up any particular power every two encounters.

        1. Another thing I, as the DM, would consider is letting each player have a Instinct, but it would HAVE to be followed. So if your instinct is “whenever I enter new territory, I have my weapons drawn,” you would automatically start any encounter in new territory with weapons out, which might bone you occasionally (being assumed to be hostile) but it would definitely help.

          If you want to do that and shake out Quick Draw, that would work too.

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