Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thoughts on Thunderspire Session 2

On Saturday my 4e game continued, and what a game!

In further preparation for the last session, I did some reading of reviews of Thunderspire, and one of the more frequently repeated criticisms is the lack of answers for all situations. For example, the gatehouse of the Horned Hold is well defended, and the booklet doesn’t tell you how players should break in, it only tells you the tactics that the orcs take. I hadn’t really noticed that. Upon having it pointed out to me, it just seemed like there were enough different options that they left it up to the DM to figure it out.

That’s my old school training I guess. I’m used to having to fill in a few details.

One thing that did bug me, even more this session than the last one was how sub-optimal and underpowered the monsters were. It didn’t become entirely obvious until the encounter with the level 8 ogre brute and some level 3 orc skirmishers. The orcs had +8 vs AC to hit, and did 1d12+3 damage. The ogre had +11 vs AC and did 1d10+5 damage. At one point the ogre scored a critical. You can imagine the look on their faces as I rolled the 20 and described the club smashing down on the poor character... until I gave the damage. 15 points of damage. Do you know how much damage the orcs do on a critical? 1d12+15 (clearly written before the rules for critical hits were finalized).

Once I realized this issue, my face probably mirrored what my players faces had looked like before I told them the damage. I reached over and grabbed my copy of the Monster Vault and checked out ogres.The 6th level brute ogre hits on an 11 and does 2d10+6 damage. The level 8 ogre soldier is +13 to hit and does 2d8+7 damage. For the rest of the fight we used the 2d8+7.

I think I ran the session better this time around. We did some roleplaying in the Seven Pillared Hall, made a decision I didn’t expect, and even found a workaround to a problem they didn’t know they created.

My players had a lot of fun. They’re really enjoying their characters abilities, and the way they’ve been able to really work together. We’ll see if they continue to feel that way after I fix the monsters in the rest of the adventure! Bwahaha!

They’re also really looking forward to hitting level 6. Honestly they deserve it too. They played through eight encounters and 2 skill challenges without an extended rest. Unfortunately for them, they’re still in the Horned Hold, they have a bunch of very recently freed slaves, and wont have time for an extended rest for anywhere from 1-4 more encounters!

This month's RPG Blog Carnival topic is Animals and it's being hosted here at the Tower of the Archmage! How can you get involved? Easy – just write a post about animals, and let me know about it!

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