Last night I participated in my first D&D Championship. We didn’t complete the adventure but I think our party has a very good chance of advancing to the semi-finals this afternoon.
The D&D Championship Rules
Each participant is required to bring a level 2 character for the qualifying round of play. If you advanced to the semi-finals then you use a level 3 version of that character. If you advance to the finals you use a level 4 version of that character.
The party is scored based on what they do, how they do it, how many encounters they complete and how many PCs survive. Our DM had run D&D championships in previous years and had already run five other sessions this GenCon. He was very up-front about what actions and decisions might increase our chances of getting us into the semi-finals (in a roundabout and cryptic way, of course). He told us before we began that a party who successfully completes some of the encounter and lives will get a better score than a party who tries to complete all the encounters and looses all or most of the PCs. His advice was invaluable when we had a tough decision to make.
I didn’t know anyone else participating in the D&D Championship in my time-slot which meant that I had to find four other random people and form an impromptu adventuring party. This was the final party make-up.
- Dwarf Fighter (defender)
- Elf Avenger (striker)
- Kalashtar Cleric (leader)
- Drow Sorcerer (striker)
- Warforged Artificer (leader)
I played the Artificer. It only took us one encounter to realize our strengths and weaknesses. After that we worked very well together.
The D&D Championship qualifying games were run in six different slots at GenCon. Participants in each slot played a different adventure. So if you scouted an earlier game it didn’t help.
The basic premise is that the PCs are sent to recover one of five fragments of a powerful dragonshard. The background explained that an expedition into the Mournland turned up a fragment of a powerful dragonshard. The leader of the expedition later had a vision that there were a total of five dragonshard fragments, one in each of the five nations. The speculation is that if the five dragonshards are brought together they will form an immensely powerful and extremely dangerous dragonshard. We were given the assignment of recovering one of the other fragments.
Our adventure brought us to Aundair near the boarder of the Eldeen Reaches. We learned that evil forces also seek these shards and have tricked or convinced good people into helping them get their hands on these fragments. We had to “convince” those good people that they were wrong.
The Score Sheet
Our party made it through three of the four encounters. We lost the Avenger in the first round of the third combat. He was knocked prone and then subjected to a villainous Rogue who scored a crit. He fell below his negative bloodied value and was dead before either of the leaders could heal him. The rest of the encounter played out and we emerged victorious (albeit down one PC).
There was a natural story break between encounters three and four so we had to decide if we wanted to take and extended rest and bring the dead PC back to life or continue on with only four PCs. After 10 minutes of discussion we decided to rest. The DM told us that by taking the extended rest we would not get to do the final encounter. But it turns out that not attempting the final encounter wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
The DM was very candid after we finished. He told us how the final encounter would have played out – including the types of monsters and their abilities, tactics and powers. I think our four remaining PCs would have died a horrible death had they continued onward.
The End Result
So we ended up completing three encounters and loosing only one PC. The DM told us that a lot (probably more than half) of the parties who already played the D&D Championship at GenCon in earlier slots resulted in total party kills (TPKs). He said that based on our performance and score we have a VERY good chance of advancing to the semi-finals this afternoon.
As of this posting I still don’t know if we’ve advanced or not. I’ll comment later today with our final status and if we do advance I’ll share all of the details and the outcome in a follow-up article tomorrow.