D&D Encounters (Week 6)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on April 22, 2010

I owe the players at my game table an apology. Because of my unpredictable dice, our encounter was over after only two rounds. Less than half-an-hour into week 6, we were done. Sorry guys. Whenever dice have an impact on the outcome of events, there’s always the outside chance that they’ll do the unexpected.

Since I began playing and writing about my participation in D&D Encounters, I’ve tried to keep things as spoiler free as possible. This week I need to be specific, otherwise I won’t have very much to write about.

D&D Encounters is a 12-part adventure from Wizards of the Coast and it’s played out one encounter each week over 12 weeks.

This week’s encounter began with the party using the key they discovered after completing last week’s encounter. The key unlocked the door leading to the laboratory. Cautiously we entered. We immediately noticed a Quarterstaff +1 leaning against the coat rack next to the door. Until now I’ve made no claim on any of the magical treasure, but I wanted this staff. The party didn’t object since the Warden already had a magical sword, the Cleric was playing in his first Encounters session and the Psion was a ranged attacker. Score one magical item for the Monk.

After the DM described the rest of the room, the Psion used Arcana to detect magic – he rolled a 20. Something magical was detected inside the iron maiden. Grabbing it without setting off the trap requires deft hands and a Thievery check. My 4 in Thievery was highest, so I was nominated for the snatch and grab. I rolled a 5. The iron maiden snapped closed. I took damage and my arm was pinned. I was restrained and would take ongoing damage until I saved. Then the monsters showed up. Time for initiative.

Before we rolled we took stock of the situation. The five monsters on the map were all flying. The two closest to us were up 1 square, three artillery monsters at the back of the room were up 2 squares. On my turn I was going to use my daily power. The effect, hit or miss, extended my reach by 1. The way the nearest monsters were positioned, I could potentially hit them both with my attack (since it was close burst 2). But I needed a save, badly. Otherwise I’d be restrained on my turn and not able to do anything effective other than bleed on the iron maiden. Luckily the Cleric had Sacred Flame. If he hit, he could give me a save before my turn began.

We rolled initiative. The monsters went first and we took some heavy damage. The Cleric went next and used Sacred Flame. He hit and I got my save. I rolled 13, and managed to break free of the iron maiden. The Cleric healed the badly bloodied Fighter and then used an action point to activate his daily power. The entire party gained resist 5 to all damage (which we sorely needed since two of us were still very bloodied).

I was next in the order so I moved and attacked the two closest monsters. On the first one I rolled 20. On the second one I rolled… another 20! Two crits with a daily power for 3d8+5 each and another +1d6 from the newly acquired Quarterstaff +1. Unbelievable. I’ve never seen it happen before. The first monster took 32 damage and the second took 34. The one previously hit with the Sacred Flame was killed. The other still had a little fight left in him but my Flurry of Blows added another 5 points and he fell too.

The Warden and the Psion attacked the artillery attackers. The Fighter missed but the Psion hit. Then the remaining monsters attacked again. One of them critted me but I suppose I can’t really complain about it since I just critted two of them. If not for the resist 5 the Cleric provided, two of us would have fallen. Great use of a daily power.

Then it was back to the heroes. The Cleric healed me and kept his daily power activated. I let the Psion go next, anticipating that he might drop one or more of the artillery attackers. He hit both of his targets, the first attack scoring a 20 (his second of the night) and killing it outright. I then moved in and thanks to my extended reach attacked the last two monsters, both already blooded thanks to the Psion’s attacks. Two more hit and two more kills.

The Fighter didn’t even get to act in the second round. Thanks to some phenomenal rolling, teamwork and a lot of luck we rocked this encounter. I kind of felt bad that my striker was so efficient. It was fun for me to be so effective, but I regretting hogging the spotlight. The players didn’t seem too upset about the whole thing, but I feel that I do owe them an apology. So to the players at my table tonight, I’m sorry my dice got so hot and that the combat ended so quickly. I don’t think any of them minded too much. After the encounter they all agreed that I should get the extra renown points for Moment of Greatness.

Because the combat ended so quickly this week, three of us are going into the next encounter with two action points. We all planned to use one this week, but only the Cleric was able to use his. After these last two encounters in chapter 2, I’m only down by one healing surge. After the first two encounters in chapter 1 I was down 4 of 6. It’s amazing how effective a balanced party using good tactics can be. I’m really looking forward to D&D Encounters week 7.

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1 Dixon Trimline April 22, 2010 at 10:25 am

Yup, you fooled me. You started off with an apology to the other players, regretting that the encounter was over in two rounds because of “unpredictable dice,” and I immediately concluded that meant BAD ROLLS.

Maybe I’m just a “glass half empty” guy, but it never occurred to me that you were talking about all critical hits, all the time. That’s amazing, and good on you for getting those Renown Points. What a beauty moment!

2 Dantracker April 22, 2010 at 2:58 pm

that doesn’t sound initially like it was an appropriate amount of damage dealt to those creatures. They should have been a bit more beefy. perhaps the DM failed to notice a certain little notation about their resistances and apply that readily.

well, all done now, no chance to correct that issue.

3 Bryan April 22, 2010 at 6:32 pm

40-50 hp is normal for level 2-3 artillery.

4 Ameron April 23, 2010 at 8:10 am

@Dixon Trimline
I always try to come up with a creative intro to get the reader hooked. I figured most would jump to the same conclusion as you. I know I would have if I was reading this on another blog.

I’ve had a lot of very positive D&D experiences, but I must admit that scoring two crits with my daily power immediately after getting a magic weapon was a new high point for me. I imagine it’s like getting a hole in 1 in golf. It is really rare, but when it happens you remember every detail and never stop talking about it.

I talked to one of the other DMs afterwards to find out more about the monsters. They had 20 hit points, but were insubstantial. So we needed to inflict 40 point of damage to drop them. I know that one took damage from a Sacred Flame and the other one might have taken damage from the Cleric’s daily power. I don’t know if it had an offensive property.

I suspect that the DM decided it would be cool to assume that the two crits killed the monsters, even if they really had 1 or 2 hit points left. I know that’s what I would have done.

The monster’s I killed with the crits weren’t artillery (at least the DM didn’t play them that way). I also suspect that they were only level 1 or maybe level 2 monsters. Remember that this is a level 1 adventure.

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