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Night Below Session 9


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#41 CrazyMLC

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 11:26 PM

Thanks Hal and co.!

"You're all paralyzed. The zombies shamble over and eat you all."
A little lame, though I understand why.

In the whole game Goggles did the best IMO, clever ideas and cunning got him far. The rest of the players charged (or sneaked!) in without considering options. It basically boiled down to the players not wanting to talk things through on what they could do.

This tactic usually works in other games where you start as super-heroes, but in in this it seemed that you need to plan things through a bit, at least at lower levels. The world doesn't seem to level up with you, you're facing high level mages, etc from the start.

I'd like to see this all rewind back to when the players saw the tower.
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#42 Vaeron

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 12:07 AM

also yes Chris YOU did do more then your part in putting an end to warhammer, In all honesty It sounded like you guys were enjoying it right at the end, you fought (well more like cowered with one hand and swung a stick with the other) a vampire, and fought off an entire band of beastmen!


I disagree, if you've followed the various conversations at all you know the players almost universally disliked the railroading in that campaign. In fact, I think you gave two examples of some of the worst aspects of that particular adventure, ignoring the forced-into-investigating-chickens-at-swordpoint. Two back to back encounters with unbeatable enemies designed to have the PCs rescued by reinforcements? An enemy whose armor they couldn't even pierce and had to be rescued from by a gang of vampires? The first one was bad enough, but the very next encounter being a horde that they have to be rescued from again? It's inexcusable, awful awful game design. It wasn't even an adventure so much as an exercise in testing the PCs' ability to jump through hoops.

Hal did as great a job with it as anyone could, as he always does, but it seemed to me the part of it you think indicated them enjoying it was actually them rebelling and going out of their way to do something - anything - that wasn't completely dictated by the adventure. A player choosing to spend an entire session in the stocks, another going to get an axe to start chopping people up with before changing his mind and enciting a riot, another attempting to kidnap a pie-maker, and another drugging horses, and even Lindsay cutting off a plot NPC to say "that's nice, just give me the pie" doesn't paint the festive picture you seem to think it does!

It was, however, hilarious.
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#43 deerpoob

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:15 AM

also yes Chris YOU did do more then your part in putting an end to warhammer, In all honesty It sounded like you guys were enjoying it right at the end, you fought (well more like cowered with one hand and swung a stick with the other) a vampire, and fought off an entire band of beastmen!


I disagree, if you've followed the various conversations at all you know the players almost universally disliked the railroading in that campaign. In fact, I think you gave two examples of some of the worst aspects of that particular adventure, ignoring the forced-into-investigating-chickens-at-swordpoint. Two back to back encounters with unbeatable enemies designed to have the PCs rescued by reinforcements? An enemy whose armor they couldn't even pierce and had to be rescued from by a gang of vampires? The first one was bad enough, but the very next encounter being a horde that they have to be rescued from again? It's inexcusable, awful awful game design. It wasn't even an adventure so much as an exercise in testing the PCs' ability to jump through hoops.

Hal did as great a job with it as anyone could, as he always does, but it seemed to me the part of it you think indicated them enjoying it was actually them rebelling and going out of their way to do something - anything - that wasn't completely dictated by the adventure. A player choosing to spend an entire session in the stocks, another going to get an axe to start chopping people up with before changing his mind and enciting a riot, another attempting to kidnap a pie-maker, and another drugging horses, and even Lindsay cutting off a plot NPC to say "that's nice, just give me the pie" doesn't paint the festive picture you seem to think it does!

It was, however, hilarious.


while i wasnt refering to the whole chicken escapade, I was merely showing that perhaps the adventure would take a turn from following young boys around to perhaps a little more adventure and decent swordplay, I totally agree on the railroading aspect, Im merely stating maybe there was excitement to come.
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#44 PrestoJeff

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 04:30 PM

Am I correct in assuming that the players assaulted this keep WAY WAY too early in the campaign? Wikipedia and the RPG.net review seems to suggest that the PCs should be around level 10(!) at the time of the assault and clearing-out of the caverns underneath it.
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#45 Rum_151

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 04:32 PM

Am I correct in assuming that the players assaulted this keep WAY WAY too early in the campaign? Wikipedia and the RPG.net review seems to suggest that the PCs should be around level 10(!) at the time of the assault and clearing-out of the caverns underneath it.



8O .......


AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!
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#46 inkwizita

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 04:46 PM

Ah Ha that explains a lot
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#47 Keener

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 05:07 PM

Am I correct in assuming that the players assaulted this keep WAY WAY too early in the campaign? Wikipedia and the RPG.net review seems to suggest that the PCs should be around level 10(!) at the time of the assault and clearing-out of the caverns underneath it.

Well they jumped the gun a bit. :D
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#48 Snappyapple

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 05:36 PM

I think the wikipedia entry says the 'campaign' was designed to take players from level 1 to 10 and beyond, not just Book I. But still, mighty level 2/3(!) characters should not be storming that keep for another level or two, or three if headlong charges are your party's style of suicide. :P
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#49 Telemergion

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 06:48 PM

I think the party made it very apparent that they were very good at choosing places that would likely kill them.
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#50 Balgin

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 08:36 PM

Am I correct in assuming that the players assaulted this keep WAY WAY too early in the campaign? Wikipedia and the RPG.net review seems to suggest that the PCs should be around level 10(!) at the time of the assault and clearing-out of the caverns underneath it.


Not exactly. There are two places the Pc's should be assaulting around level 2-3 and the keep is one of them. By 2-3 I mean late level 2, when the fast classes (thief & cleric) are hitting 3 already. In each of these areas the party should confront a group of slavers who are supplying the missing people (Jeleneth, the Millbourne town cleric - who was supposed to go missing after the party took the barge job - which they refused, and the pilgrims who never made it across the moor that Chris refused to enter - so missing out on some xp there made the keep harder).

The villains in the keep are mostly level 1-4, lazy, have gaping great holes in their security, but are sturdy enough to take down a frontal assault without too much trouble.

The second area the party should be attacking (and they can do them in either order) is nowhere near as well defended but the villains there are a level or two higher.

Once these two areas have been dealt with the party would be around level 4. Each area contains akey (the evil cleric had one of those keys) and both keys are needed to open a massive two lock dor to get at an orc tribe (enough Xp for party level 5, and book 2).

So, by missing out on 2 or 3 available side quests the oparty were slightly low level for the keep. The evil cleric and his bandits are supposed to attack the barge (when the party have guarded it a few times and got used to the job being an easy money spinner). The party should then see him fleeing (and flying) into the woods to the south and either give chase or ask around to see if anyone knows where the bandits might be hiding out in those woods. A few people know. Lord Parlfray was meant to hire the party to find the missing pilgrims who were running late (they'd been kidnapped by the other slaver gang whilst crossing the howling moor but the party made it quite clear they didn't want to go there or visit Lord Parlfray either). A surviving guard from the pilgrims was supposed to provide a vital clue to the other slave takers ("the red headed man - there were no redheads in the keep in the thornwood).

So basicaly, the party were about 1 level too low for the keep. They'd have finished book 1 around level 5 (even without doing the side quest involving the giants and the dragon). Hal eventualy had to have the bandits ambush them in the forest because they kept refusing to take the barge and he was running out of things for them to do (since they kept avoiding stuff).

Around the beginning of book 2 the party would have been rolling in money (from the keep and the other slave takers group) and would have had a lot of magic treasure, including a portable hole (well, portable hut but it ammounted to the same thing).

They would have been around level 10-11 at the end of book 2 and around level 14-18 by the end of book 3. Unfortunately it did not happen because hey, bad luck happens sometimes. They certainly shouldn't have been level 10 when they were attacking the keep. The highest level villain in there was around level 4 or 5. What I think the real shame is that they came up with a really good plan for attacking the keep at the end of session 7. Then at the beginning of session 8 they completely forgot it and just wanted to get stuck in.

I'm not blaming Chris for the way things turned out although he did seem to be the one refusing quest opportunities louder than the rest of the party. Now admitedly he didn't know what he was refusing, but it did begin to become a pattern.
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#51 Guest__*

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 03:07 AM

Thanks for the overview of the campaiign re the levels expected at the end of each book. Interesting to see the structure like that. Well the intended structure anyway. I still think it's a lot to ask of a party (by the campaign) to spend so long getting to know the overland before the next phase. It actually made me think of one of those older Final Fantasy pc games in approach!
:D

Anyway, the group is always great to listen to so it's all good overall. :)
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#52 CrazyMLC

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 03:15 AM

Lesson learned:
NEVER refuse side-quests.
EVER.
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#53 Balgin

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 01:42 PM

Well the point that I was trying to make is that the two groups of kidnappers (the group in the keep and the second group elsewhere) are both very powerful. Whichever one the party faces first would give them a really tough time, but enough xp to make the second group considerably easier. The keep is slightly easier than the second group but they could be done the other way around too.
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#54 Guest__*

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 02:00 PM

Lesson learned:
NEVER refuse side-quests.
EVER.


Ah, but side-quest fatigue can be a terrible thing... witness the amusing frustration in the WHFRP campaign! :D
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#55 PrestoJeff

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 04:46 PM

Lesson learned:
NEVER refuse side-quests.
EVER.


Ah, but side-quest fatigue can be a terrible thing... witness the amusing frustration in the WHFRP campaign! :D

That seemed more like a recursive process: main quest -> side quest 1 -> side quest 2 -> ad infinitum. *That* is frustrating.

Kinda like Hawkeye in that MASH episode where all he wants is new boots.
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#56 eformo

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 09:40 PM

I agree with Balgin's commentary on the module above. Having another level under their belt the keep would have been a decent challenge perhaps, but not overwhelming at all.

However, the party could very easily have survived this if they had taken stock of the situation, realized that they were all nearly dead and out of spells and withdrawn and spent a day resting and recovering (or better yet, taken a fast trip to town to sell some loot which would likely have seen a couple of characters ding new levels).

When I listened to the whole thing, I really got the VERY strong impression that the players wanted the characters to die and end the game - hence the constant press forward in spite of everyone being half-dead and out of spells. Disappointed to be certain since I'm hoping to run this thing all the way through, but alas, that's life.

Thinking back to the character generation, it might have gone better if a few things had been otherwise. First off, I think the group might have worked together in a manner better conducive to success if Hal had stuck to the "no evil characters" line. The characters definitely were not working together.

Also, the decision to go "hard-core" on the stat rolls was ill-starred. Leafing through the box set, I get the distinct impression that more of the enemies have dexterity bonuses than not. I got the impression that the NPC's were rolled with either the 4d6, drop low and arrange to taste, or even 2d6+6, arranged to taste. Or rather the "just make them have the AC we want and assign them whatever DEX score gets that for us" method. Definitely a module where you want the PC's to have high attribute scores or else to rebalance the NPCs with modest scores.
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#57 inkwizita

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 06:22 AM

The decision to go "Hard Core" did seem to force people to play character types they would prefer not to.
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#58 Ieqo

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 07:54 AM

:flog:
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#59 eformo

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 08:05 AM

Wisdom for priests = bonus spells = much more useful. A L1 priest with 18 wisdom is, at least for spells, better than 2 L2 priests without shiny stat scores.

The dex bonuses would make the players take less damage. Str scores for the fighty-types makes like a whole lot better as they score hits more often and do more damage.

The party doesn't need another level AND high attributes, they just need either/or. One of the big game play imbalances of the game prior to 4e in my mind is that high stat bonuses will severely distort the strength of a character/party at the low levels. Later, when the fighter has a +10 BAB/10 THAC0, then the difference that a +4 from a stat makes is only 40%, but at L1, that's a 400% difference in the bonus. Definitely makes the attributes dominate early on.

I sincerely hope we will get to hear another AD&D game from the group soon. I'm longing for something with the epic-ness of WLD but with the system I grew up playing.
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#60 James

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 04:57 PM

You know...if we had just burnt the fuckin place down like I wanted....
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