MNF: session 7

15 06 2010

But… what happened in sessions 1-6??? Don’t worry about it.

Session 7 was pretty interesting for a number of reasons.  The first is that we had a “spectator.”  The second is we had a new player join the group. And the third was we were pitted against the DM’s first attempt at original content.

So first off, the spectator is always an interesting thing to add, because in my many years of gaming I have come to find that when there are spectators, there is stage fright and dare I say, the occasionally showboating.  This guy is a retired warcraft addict who had been interested in D&D for over a year  with no opportunity to see what it was all about.  Well folks, we at MNF like to give back to the gaming community so we let this guy in on the action.  You could see the gears cranking as he watched and observed.  Because I am a former warcraft junkie myself i was able to make the simple comparisons between 4e and wow which really gelled the experience for him.  I felt the DM handled a stranger observing his game pretty well and even managed to throw in some roleplay and embellishments that made everything even more fun.  Showcasing a 2nd level 4e fight, one where characters are already using area of effect attacks, mowing down minions, teleporting, and generally being awesome was a real treat.  An earlier edition of D&D showcasing level 2 characters fighting skeletons would have had trouble keeping up. Because Crimson Steam already has 8 million players, I agreed to let this guy make a character for Saturday night’s game; we will see what happens.

The new player is a very close friend of mine (and family member, love you bro).  He is a casual gamer with many years of D&D under his belt who started off in 3rd edition.  He is definitely a “slayer” (a player that enjoys killing monsters for monster killing’s sake) which makes him a perfect candidate to play as Dust.  I always get a serious pride swell when other players take on a character I have designed and can’t stop geeking out about them.  If you are a slayer, and you like dealing damage, Dust is your character. As expected he kicked the butt and allowed me, who was running both Dust and Cham, to focus more on party tactics and keeping everyone healed and well positioned.

The last thing I will hit on is the new content. Because one of the players had already run through most of Keep of the Shadowfell I encouraged our DM in training to gut the dungeon and refill it with whatever he fancied.  Well he was fancying some Zombieland apparently.  He also shuffled the map around a bit too, changing entry points and staircase locations.  This all made for a fresh take on a well-known dungeon.  The first encounter of the night was a mix bag of zombies, skeletons, and minion versions.  Dust really took the spotlight with her abjure undead power and we managed to meaty bone grind our way through.  We steamrolled right into the second encounter which featured a mini boss: a wight monk torturer, and literally 20 odd minions and non minion skeletons, zombies, and oh did I mention they were archers.  This fight was definitely the evening highlight.  Bison was the only KO for the party. Bison must taste delicious because he is some serious monster bait.  We used some pretty sweet tactics, like sending Dust in for a tremendous abjure undead super bomb and then having Cham teleport her back out to safety.

The DM also introduced a new status effect: Fear.  This was an ongoing effect that on a failed save you were pushed 3 squares from the Wight (save ends).  That was an excellent way to keep us on our toes and force us to continually regroup into formation.  When the fight was finally over we looted the bodies, a little too late, Skye’s familiar managed to pickpocket most of the gold without the party noticing (Ah the party thief…. my heart swoons). The bodies were stashed in a storage room and given last rites by Dust and Cham, a very cool “cut scene” took place. Cham then preformed Last Rite of Vision ritual on the skull of the Wight and was treated to some excellent story telling by the DM.  In the moments before his death the Keep’s head monk was administering blessings on his congregation when the door to the chapel (now a torture chamber) was kicked open by the Keep’s ruler, crazed and blood hungry the Paladin king began slaughtering the innocent before finally turning his blade on the monk.  Let me just say… I run this player in my Crimson Steam game, and roleplay is not his specialty, but this was some good stuff.  I was excited.

The final encounter of the night, pushed us way past our normal quitting time, bedtimes, and patience limits.  After an extended rest we kick open another door onto a fight similar but tactically worse for the party.  The mini boss of this ragtag band of undead was a Mad Wight, yes folks, a level 6 monster.  Fortunately for the party it was rolling like a chump and in my opinion the fight was over far too easily.  Any time you have a creature that is insubstantial (able to move through solid objects), has a damage over time aura, has a stealth of +13, and can essentially turn characters against each other, you have an almost total party wipeout.  I sat down with the DM after the session and let him know how a more complex monster like a wraith can really turn the world upside down on a party by remaining stealth, letting his aura and minions each away at us and finally coming out of hiding only long enough to turn us against each other. I then encouraged him to try again later with a similar monster.

And that was session 7.

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