I made it. My team advanced to the finals of the 2009 GenCon D&D Championship. We played it smart in the qualifying round, and even though we didn’t complete all four encounters we still advanced. The semi-finals were even more difficult and only because two characters had training in Thievery did we make it through the second round of the D&D Championship. With only eleven teams remaining, we still had a legitimate shot at winning some fabulous prizes.
The final round of the D&D championship was really just a hack and slash adventure. It was full of nasty undead. Although we had a Cleric and an Avenger, we still had a lot of trouble getting through this adventure.
The final chapter in this story was a rescue mission. The adventurer who found the fist Dragonshard fragment and had subsequent visions of how to use them to reunite the Five Nations was kidnapped. The abductors were tracked back to a ruined temple. The PCs were asked to rescue her.
The first two combat encounters were against nothing but undead monsters. Parties with strong divine characters had a clear advantage. Unfortunately the Cleric in our party focused on healing and swapped out his ability to turn undead. The Avenger didn’t really have any radiant attacks either. So we were extremely over matched against the undead while many other parties were not. But that’s just the way it works out sometimes.
During the second encounter a spell-casting undead cast a sleep spell on the party in the first round. For the next eight rounds the Cleric failed his save over and over again. Other PCs used their standard action to make a Heal check allowing the sleeping Cleric additional attempts to make his save. No luck. It wasn’t until the ninth round before the Cleric finally made his save. Sometimes the dice just don’t cooperate. This was one of those times. Meanwhile the rest of the party was getting their butts handed to them by ghouls. Before the Cleric work up, the Fighter was killed. We finally defeated the monsters (barely) but we lost the Fighter and the Avenger was low on healing surges.
The third encounter was a skill challenge. I liked that they finally threw one in, but I don’t think our DM ran it very well. We ended up failing the skill challenge. It was 12 before 3. We only got 11 before the final failure. Close but still a fail. As a result, everyone lost two healing surges. The Avenger was now going into the final combat with zero healing surges.
The final encounter was tough. Thanks to an exceptional Perception check we noticed four hidden zombies and managed to take them out before engaging the other monsters in the room. The next wave of monsters were made up of sharp-shooters and spell-casters. I questioned the DMs call regarding line of sight and what obstacles provided cover, but at that point I didn’t think we had anything to gain by arguing. It was pretty clear that we weren’t going to win the D&D Championship. Other groups were already finished and didn’t loose any PCs. When two demons entered into the melee I decided to make one last-ditch effort to at least accomplish the rescue mission.
While the Avenger, Cleric and Sorcerer drew fire from the monsters, I did a double move. Then I spent an action point to move again. It took three moves, but in the end I was standing next to the hostage. During the next round, the monsters stayed focused on my three companions and left me alone. I untied the hostage and we fled through the back-door with our lives. The other three PCs valiantly sacrificed themselves so that we could complete our mission. I can’t think of a more heroic way to end the D&D Championship.
After the finals were over, we waited for the scores to be tabulated. We all knew that our party did not have a legitimate shot of winning the tournament. As expected we did not finish in the top three, nor did we get any kind of prize. The team that did win, The C Team, won an incredible amount of D&D swag. Book, minis, dungeon tiles and an iPod touch. I’d guess they each took home somewhere in the neighbourhood of $700 – $1,000 worth of prizes.
As an interesting side note, two of the guys on the winning team were brothers I met online and teamed up with to compete in the Ultimate Dungeon Delve earlier during GenCon. They worked very well together during the delve and built character who complimented each other’s abilities quite nicely. I assume they did much the same for the Championship. Congratulations to the winners of the 2009 GenCon D&D Championship.