Actual Play – He’s Dead Jim (02/27/2009)

System: Dungeons & Dragons

Our “Purple in Waterdeep” DnD game started off with a bang last Friday. We found that the spy master had been killed in his room. Door locked and found with a bloody dwarven blade at his side. It was clear that the dwarf George Strongarm was the one we should assume committed the crime, but some clever investigation proved otherwise.

Seeking out the would be suspect we encountered a small band of satyrs and gnolls that put up a brief resistance before defeat and leading us to the dwarves that were eagerly awaiting George’s return. When we found out he had gone into the mountain and had not returned, we “persuaded” the dwarves to let us past and help their leader.

What we found was that he had been taken by followers of Tiamat who worked an evil guild master (Moreno) and was captive of none other than a red dragon. Fight!

What rocked

The first encounter was awesome. It was set up in our spare room and had clues all over that our characters made various skill checks to find. Talk about skill challenges on a new level. It was very clear that the DM put a lot of energy into making CSI: Waterdeep.

The direction of the game was definitely political. Yes, we had two fights but both of them were to save a captive guild leader. We also found a badges designated for us that signified we had raised to the rank of “freelancer”. Very important people indeed.

The Boss Fight. So far the solo fights we’ve had didn’t involve a ton of tactics, we just clobbered the hell out of the one guy and he usually had tons of hit points and lots of powers that allowed him to dole out the damage. This fight however, was very dynamic. The dragon didn’t move too much but he forced us to… and move we did. He also had a tail lash that was vicious and prevented several of my sneak attacks.

My combo worked! I decided that since my character acts like a defender most of the time anyway (he’s the only other melee character in the group) I might as well have a feat that makes my melee opponents miserable. At 6th level, still unsure of his deity, Ace took the “Soldier of Faith” feat which allows him to give a divine challenge to a monster (the paladin’s mark). If they ever attack someone else, they take some radiant damage. Add that to the 5th level daily power “Clever Riposte” and anytime they attack me, they take my Dexterity modifier in damage and I can shift one square. Result: I rolled four 1s in that battle, sprinkled with a few other rolls under 5 and I still did crap ton of damage to that dragon. Trimming him down with a few hit points a time. I was very happy with that combination.

What could have been improved

According to the warlock, he didn’t have much to do besides stand in a corner and fire eldritch blasts. I think future solo encounters could probably be improved by adding environmental factors (moving walls of lava, collapsing bridges, etc) that would make things more interesting for the ranged characters. Alternately, make of the boss fights in WoW have special tricks you need to do in order to win. It might be that statues need to be broken, orbs need to be lifted, buttons need to be pressed, words need to be chanted, etc that would make a boss weaker so the other characters could fight him. Just some ideas.

The game ran late, after midnight I think, which kind of jacked me up in the morning. It wasn’t anyone’s fault in particular, it just means we need to factor in more time for some of the major fights.