Friday, January 20, 2012

Thoughts on Thunderspire

As we wrapped up Thunderspire I have a few thoughts on how things went overall.

We all missed minions. It’s a little weird actually, but the one-hit wonders actually made some battles a lot of fun, especially when you can throw hoards of the things at them! Summoned skeletons? Bam - minions! Goblins coming out of the woodwork? Bam - minions! Watching them get mowed down by the PCs is actually a lot of fun. Watching them gang up on the PCs and bring the hurt? Also lots of fun.

In the last session I used the Return of Kalarel encounter which included minion versions of the PCs. I decided that running them as standard minions wasn’t going to fit the encounter quite right, so I made them 2 hit minions. It worked out well, and it threw the players for a bit of a loop.

Encounter Builds
Some of the encounter builds seemed really odd, especially the last bunch. I don’t get why Norkers (3rd level) were included in level 6-8 encounters. They didn’t serve any really useful purpose, except in the roll that minions would have better served in. As it was, they ended up just making the players expend a few actions to take them down. It’s bad when to hit them, the players needed to not roll a 1. Not only were they time wasters, they didn’t really have any connection to the theme of the adventure or the series.

You know what would have worked, given that this is the Orcus series? Undead! There was a startling lack of undead in this adventure given the overarching theme.

As written, rather crappy. As modified by Myrhdraak, about on line with Bioware games (Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, etc.). Rather railroady, with lots of extraneous moving parts. There were a lot of extra NPCs that didn’t really get a chance to get any stage time. Part of this was my fault, and part of it my players, but this play style seems to work for us, especially given out very limited playtime.

I also appreciate the work of Myrhdraak in tying the adventures together, not just in making them all Orcus themed, but actually making them work as an adventure path.

I would give Thunderspire a C/C- grade. It had a lot of potential, but it never really brings it all together in a really comfortable and coherent way. The grade goes down even further if you don’t use the Orcus conversion.

On the other hand, it was still fun, and my players seemed to really enjoy themselves.

It’s likely to be a while before we get to game again, which will give me a chance to really vet the next adventure and make sure there aren’t any crazy things going on like the norkers. I’m looking forward to it the most of the H adventure series, as I think it’s probably the most gonzo and old school of the set. More on that later...

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