Children’s Crusade – Session 9

LARP: Sternenfeuer group from Germany

Assume the Dramatic Poses!

SUICIDE SQUAD – ATTACK!

Players Present:

  • Annie K.
  • Spencer
  • Rachael
  • Zachary
  • Anthony

Start time: 12:30, end time 4pm

Recap by Spencer –

Adventure Synopsis by GM Andrew:

The group resumes their travel riding the carriage with Roland riding the Bear. Roland Huntley spots off in the distance a three-armed giant creature standing over a toppled wagon, a dead horse and a couple of humanoids. He charges towards the creature after telling the group what he sees. Nikolai gets the carriage into a charge so he can fire his arrows. Tamlin rolls off the carriage onto a stump (Ouch, 5 non-lethal damage). Melinissa jumps off as a Leopard and climbs a tree. Leaving Julia in the carriage.

Battle:

Nickolai is taken down by thrown rocks from the three-armed giant. -2 HP – he’s disabled. Carriage is now driverless.

Roland charges into melee and is promptly taken down as the creature mauls him with the spiked clubs. -2 HP, the bear takes damage, but decides to run away. Bear down to 10 HP.

Tamlin decides to ignore his downed comrades and instead pelts the giant with spells, agitating the creature. It retaliates with well thrown rock. GM NOTE: I crit’d the blow and forgot to double the damage. But Tamlin was taken down by 27 HP, so technically he died during the battle, luckily the GM was distracted and that was the tally from both blows. Total HP -10 of -15 allowed.

Julia remembered that Tamlin had a healing potion in his backpack, administered it and then fled with him on the carriage. They regrouped farther down the road and Tamlin decided that it would be in their best interest to actually heal his friends.

END Battle

Discussing strategies then commenced, the group seemed to think bribing the beast was an option. They finally returned to the scene of the battle to find nothing except the broken wagon. Melinissa conversed with the dead horse’s spirit, it followed her at her request.

During the second night at second watch, Nickolai heard a wailing sound, and followed it for approximately 20 minutes. He discovered the source of the wailing was Wind Chimes. Annoyed, he took it down and then returned to camp to find everything gone! He couldn’t even find the wagon tracks.

Meanwhile, the others groggily woke up in the carriage, tied and gagged. Huntley was able to slip free of the bonds, and freed the others. Tamlin sent sting to paralyze one of the captors driving the carriage. Melinissa took out the other captor with her burning hands. They killed both captors, returned to pick up Nickolai and then headed to the city of Hilsfar.

End Game.

GM NOTES:

Team work was very much lacking in this adventure. The party blindly charged into a situation without knowing what they would find, and instead of falling back when the foe was found to be superior they still tried to take it on head on. Writing the log I recalled the critical blow that would have outright killed Tamlin – I’m not going to retcon the results, but that’s just a big point – Tamlin died. Without Tamlin, the party has no healer. Instead of aiding the others in their endeavor, he abandoned them to their fate, and when they returned badly injured he was more concerned with inflicting the most damage upon the creature instead of assisting the downed party members.

Party Roles are established by virtue of the character concept. The “Tank” character never once engaged the enemy, the ONLY character capable of even surviving the encounter was instead climbing trees and hiding in the forest.

Let’s review Character ROLES:

  • Julia Winters – Arcane Magic Support Fighter. [War Wizard in training]. You cast spells from the safety behind your comrades, and when your magic runs out and the enemy is weakened, THEN you engage them in melee. You’re a weak fighter still, use more magic to wear them down.
  • Tamlin -Divine Magic Support – Party Healer. Divine Casters are better at BUFFING their allies, you aren’t a Tank, you aren’t going to out-do Melinissa in raw tankness, and Julia is going to out magic you in raw damage output. Your strength lies in helping your allies, and ESPECIALLY keeping them healthy to survive the rigors of combat. In order to heal them you NEED to stay close to them. Your healing (Unlike Georgina) is TOUCH RANGE.
  • Melinissa- Combat Fighter Extraordinaire! She takes the fight to the enemy and lays waste to them. She can instantly heal her “host” of any damage up to 1d8+5 (NINE TIMES, that means she can heal 9d8+45 in a single round if she wants and with 41 HP, in her ‘normal’ form she has some serious staying power)
  • Roland Huntley – Scout, Information Gatherer, sneak attack specialist. You NEVER EVER take on a bad guy head on, your strength lies in flanking an opponent, or feinting to catch them off-guard. Leave suicidal charges to the tank types.
  • Nikolai Verburger – Mystical Archer – Flaming Sphere is a nice spell, but slowing or blinding opponents is a LOT more useful when the enemy is vastly SUPERIOR to you. Blinded Creatures have a 50% miss chance in melee combat and CAN’T Target anyone at range. You’d be more ideal sniping such creatures with some sort of cover. If the giant had been blinded, you’re allies would have fared a lot better in the battle.

Now, onto GM critique of the overall combat that took over an hour of game time and was painful to watch – Quoting stats from the monster manual, asking for remaining HP and otherwise not engaging the actual game is

  1. Annoying to the GM;
  2. Means you aren’t focusing on what the character is doing and finally;
  3. Isn’t respecting the atmosphere the Game Master is trying to create.

This is a role-playing game, filled with puzzles, mysteries and the occasional combat to test your mettle against the numerous evil foes that populate the world. Unlike other games, this one is supposed to challenge your intellect, make you think outside the box, and approach situations as your actual character, not the player who happens to control the character. The entire challenge of the ATHACH wasn’t to fight the beast, but to rescue the two people it had captured. Sure, with a concerted effort You MIGHT have bested it, but a suicidal charge with only half the group participating was doomed to failure.  None of the characters has EVER encountered the creature, nor did they have the required knowledge skill to have an inkling of what it was or it’s capabilities. This encounter should demonstrate quite clearly that you need to use TEAMWORK, you need to think before you act, and nothing is going to be a fair challenge in the fantasy world. And who cares if the monster manual says it an ATHACH has 133 HP, or an AC of 20. The book is a guideline for the “average” species of the creature, I bet you didn’t realize that the book also allows you to increase it’s HD to 28 which in turn increases it’s HP, it’s Saves and drat, Size, Damage oh and even it’s attack bonus.  There are extremely dangerous giants, and even deadlier goblins. Quoting Goblin stats would be like me saying Tamlin has only 4 HP and an AC of 11. Well, that’s the default stats of a human right, and obviously Tamlin is an average human? Lesson here – Ignore the book and pay attention to the game.

Point two – Descriptions matter. The group assumed that since they met three robed hooded lizard folk, that the kidnappers that were cloaked were the lizard folk, worse still, they were wondering where the third “monk” was. Wearing Hooded Cloaks is NOT the same as wearing Hooded Robes.

Point Three – Know your character and don’t try to play the other characters for them. Does anyone realize you all spent 20 minutes arguing back and forth over Melinissa’s abilities? Add to the fact, that everything argued over was blatantly FALSE! Wizards can’t heal, Melinissa can’t possess humans and pigs don’t normally fly. I also shouldn’t be waiting 5 minutes for a reply to what a character is doing in the middle of combat, I shouldn’t be interrupted by players trying to act out of sequence when it’s another players turn, I also shouldn’t be hearing other players telling each other what to do during combat. UNLESS the characters have mental telepathy, it’s established that unless you’re TALKING in character, any talking out of turn is not okay. And if you’re giving strategy tips in combat out loud, don’t be surprised when the opponent counters your tactics cause you just blurted out your tactical strategy.

Finally, if you’re going to use spells, KNOW their limitations and effects BEFORE you try to cast them. Asking the GM to look up spell after spell kills the pacing of the game, especially during a combat. All allowed spells are in the Players Handbook I and II, the Spell Compendium, and with permission, The Practical Enchanter. Any other source MUST BE APPROVED by the GM prior to the game session.

Reduce Person – Only Affects Humanoids – Giants and Aberrations ARE not Humanoids; Close Range is 25 ft, +5 ft per 2 caster levels.

My final thought, respect each other. You should all enjoy the game and allow the others to enjoy it too. Let’s have fun, and not bicker.

 

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2 Responses

  1. Now that doesn’t seem to have gone all that well. Sadly, while your Tank may not have been so much in role or in character, the character was at least showing some caution.

    Too bad that particular character needs it less than any of the others.

    Ah well. Hopefully they will learn from the near-disaster and do better in the future.

    • Unfortunately the Tank wasn’t doing it out of caution, instead she was trying to find Tamlin who’d rolled off intentionally. He was trying to exercise caution, but that left the others in a lurch, since he’d be several rounds away if they needed him. Whether it was out of loyalty or other intentions, I can’t really say. I hope the lesson was learned, but I won’t know till next time rolls around.

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