GenCon is over and now it’s time to get back to our regularly scheduled D&D game. After a two week absence I was back at D&D Encounters on Wednesday night. With our numbers dwindling week after week I wasn’t sure if we’d need more than one table. While I was on the road to Indianapolis last week only six people managed to make it out for D&D Encounters Dark Sun week 9. I was ready to DM this week, but happy to jump into the role of player if there was only one table.
We waited an extra 15 minutes before starting, but in the end we had only nine people – not quite enough for two tables. The other DM decided to run a super encounter with an expanded party. So we got things in order and prepared to play with eight players. All of the pre-gens were represented as well as Yuka 2 and Phye 2 (which I played).
Last week’s adventure ended with Phye declaring she would open the lid of the sarcophagus. So the DM asked one of the Phye’s to position them self next to the sarcophagus, which the other Phye agreed to do since he was the player who ran Phye last week. The rest of the super party scattered throughout the tomb. As we rolled initiative one more player showed up. Rather than start a second table we let him join in on the fun. He chose to play Barcan 2.
The encounter as written (for a party of five or six PCs) is supposed to include one mourning haunt (level 3 solo lurker), three level 3 minions and two level 1 minions. The DM decided that this party could handle a really challenging fight so he doubled the monsters and tweaked a few of their powers, resistances and vulnerabilities. And what do you know, most of the monsters acted first.
The experiences I’ve had with extremely large parties, as a player and as a DM, is that things can get out of control and really silly in a hurry. The DM did a remarkable job of keeping things organized without killing the mood. Everyone had a lot of fun with this encounter.
During round one, three PCs rolled a natural 1 to witch the entire table (the DM included) started chanting “Reckless breakage! Reckless breakage!” And in all three cases the die was rerolled. Of course the first time Yuka 2 rolled for reckless breakage he rolled a 2 and said goodbye to his primary weapon in the process. The other two instances were much more successful, including when Jarvix went from a 1 to a 20.
The combat quickly broke into three separate battles. Phye, Castri, Yuka and Yuka 2 took on the mourning haunt nearest the sarcophagus. Jarvix, Shikirr, and Barcan took on the other mourning haunt near the doors. Meanwhile Phye 2 and Barcan Prime (he refused to answer to Barcan 2) took on the minions.
Phye took the brunt of the damage in round one and was unconscious by the end of the round. I realized that as the only other healer in the party I had to revive her. I decided to let Barcan take out the minions, most of which had already surrounded him. He said that his Phase of the Sun would kill all minions who began their turn next to him. That was assuming that he was conscious on his turn. And what do you know he was already bloodied. So before I could move to help Phye I had to help Barcan.
When the mourning haunt’s turn came around Phye was regrettably in burst zone and although unconscious was still subject to the attack (not something the DM would normally do if it was just a targeted weapon attack, but it was a burst attack). Phye was below her negative bloodied value and dead-dead. I blamed Barcan (in character, of course).
Meanwhile the rest of the PCs fought against their respective mourning haunt and managed to bloody both of them. Barcan managed to drop all but one minion before he succumbed to ongoing damage and fall unconscious himself. I decided to help Yuka, Yuka 2 and Castri who seemed to be closer to killing their opponent. I used my Implanted Suggestion daily power to daze the monster. I then used an action point to use Energizing Strike (augment 2) and on a crit was able to give Castri a healing surge.
Castri, prone and without line of sight on the monster, was unsure of what to do on his turn. As the “leader” I suggested he crawl to a square with line of sight and then attack from the ground – his penalty for attacking while prone would be negated by the combat advantage from the monster’s dazed condition. He scored two solid hits with Twin Strike.
The rest of the party was getting pummeled by the monster’s close burst 2 attack getting pushed and knocked prone. The mourning haunt nearest the door then made a critical mistake and moved within one square of the other mourning haunt. On my turn I attacked with Energizing Strike (augment 1) and with a solid hit I was able to revive Barcan Prime, giving him 4 hit points.
I suggested that Barcan Prime use his Blazing Starfall (area burst 1) and target both monsters, but he was reluctant. I insisted he make the attack. “You’ll get both of them. For all we know they could be standing there with only 1 hit point each.” He was still unsure. “I’ve saved you twice in this combat. You owe me and you owe Phye. DO IT!” So he did. Two hits. Both monsters exploded, thanks in part to Blazing Starfall’s radiant key word and the monster’s radiant vulnerability.
I forgot how much fun it can be to be the player each week at D&D Encounters. I’m going to keep DMing for the rest of the Dark Sun season (assuming we have enough players) but I’m really looking forward to being the player again for season 3.
Next week we begin chapter 3 of Fury of the Wastewalker. As we discussed yesterday in The Future of D&D Encounters you can create your own level 3 Dark Sun heroes for the final chapter. Visit the Wizards of the Coast website for all the guidelines on what’s legal for D&D Encounters.
Also check out the D&D Encouners Podcast from GenCon. You’ll hear me giving Dungeon’s Master a shameless plug at around the 10 minutes mark.
Visit the Dungeon’s Master D&D Encounters Archive for all of our ongoing weekly coverage as well as other great D&D Encounters articles and resources.