Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mairrethid, level 2

Mairrethid, level 2
Human, Wizard
Arcane Implement Mastery: Staff of Defense

Str 10, Con 11, Dex 8, Int 20, Wis 14, Cha 10.

Str 10, Con 11, Dex 8, Int 18, Wis 14, Cha 10.

AC: 17 Fort: 12 Reflex: 17 Will: 16
HP: 25 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 6

Insight +8, Arcana +11, History +11, Diplomacy +6, Dungeoneering +8

Acrobatics, Bluff +1, Endurance +1, Heal +3, Intimidate +1, Nature +3, Perception +3, Religion +6, Stealth, Streetwise +1, Thievery, Athletics +1

Wizard: Ritual Caster
Human: Linguist
Level 1: Action Surge
Level 2: Implement Expertise (staff)

Wizard at-will 1: Scorching Burst
Wizard at-will 1: Magic Missile
Bonus At-Will Power: Thunderwave
Wizard daily 1: Flaming Sphere
Wizard daily 1 Spellbook: Sleep
Wizard encounter 1: Force Orb
Wizard utility 2: Shield
Wizard utility 2 Spellbook: Arcane Insight

Spellbook, Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing), Quarterstaff, Dagger, Backpack (empty), Bedroll, Candle (10), Flask (empty) (5), Flint and Steel, Hammer, Lantern, Oil (1 pint) (5), Pitons (10), Pouch, Belt (empty) (4), Rations, Trail, Rope, hempen (50 ft.), Tent, Waterskin
Comprehend Language, Tenser's Floating Disk, Make Whole

Schlobrock, level 2

Orc, Cleric

Str 20, Con 13, Dex 10, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8.

Str 18, Con 11, Dex 10, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8.

AC: 17 Fort: 16 Reflex: 11 Will: 15
HP: 30 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 7

Religion +6, Arcana +6, Insight +8, Heal +8, Nature +8

Acrobatics, Bluff, Diplomacy, Dungeoneering +3, Endurance +1, History +1, Intimidate, Perception +3, Stealth, Streetwise, Thievery, Athletics +5

Level 1: Warrior of the Wild
Level 2: Expert Tracker

Cleric at-will 1: Righteous Brand
Cleric at-will 1: Lance of Faith
Cleric daily 1: Avenging Flame
Cleric encounter 1: Wrathful Thunder
Cleric utility 2: Shield of Faith

Ritual Book, Chainmail, Morningstar, Javelin (5), Dagger, Backpack (empty), Bedroll, Flint and Steel, Pouch, Belt (empty) (2), Rations, Trail, Rope, hempen (50 ft.), Torch (10), Waterskin, Flask (empty) (3), Vicious Spear +1
Gentle Repose, Animal Messenger

Mez Gobbo, level 2

Goblin, Rogue
Rogue Tactics: Artful Dodger

Str 8, Con 11, Dex 20, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 16.

Str 8, Con 11, Dex 18, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 14.

AC: 19 Fort: 11 Reflex: 20 Will: 14
HP: 28 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 7

Stealth +13, Thievery +13, Perception +6, Streetwise +9, Acrobatics +11, Bluff +9

Arcana +1, Diplomacy +4, Dungeoneering +1, Endurance +1, Heal +1, History +1, Insight +1, Intimidate +4, Nature +1, Religion +1, Athletics

Level 1: Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 2: Two-Weapon Defense

Rogue at-will 1: Sly Flourish
Rogue at-will 1: Deft Strike
Rogue daily 1: Easy Target
Rogue encounter 1: Positioning Strike
Rogue utility 2: Tumble

Leather Armor, Dagger (4), Hand Crossbow, Backpack (empty), Bedroll, Candle (5), Flask (empty) (3), Flint and Steel, Grappling Hook, Rations, Trail, Rope, Silk (50 ft.), Thieves' Tools, Waterskin, Duelist's Short sword +1

Gherota, level 2

Human, Fighter
Fighter Talents: One-handed Weapon Talent

Str 20, Con 11, Dex 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 8.

Str 18, Con 11, Dex 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 8.

AC: 20 Fort: 19 Reflex: 16 Will: 12
HP: 32 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 8

Intimidate +5, Heal +6, Athletics +9, Endurance +4

Acrobatics +1, Arcana +1, Bluff, Diplomacy, Dungeoneering +1, History +1, Insight +1, Nature +1, Perception +1, Religion +1, Stealth +1, Streetwise, Thievery +1

Human: Action Surge
Level 1: Weapon Focus (Heavy Blade)
Level 2: Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade)

Fighter at-will 1: Cleave
Fighter at-will 1: Reaping Strike
Bonus At-Will Power: Tide of Iron
Fighter daily 1: Villain's Menace
Fighter encounter 1: Spinning Sweep
Fighter utility 2: Pass Forward

Scale Armor, Heavy Shield, Longsword, Throwing hammer, Sling, Sling Bullets (40), Backpack (empty), Bedroll, Flint and Steel, Pouch, Belt (empty), Rations, Trail, Rope, hempen (50 ft.), Torch (10), Waterskin, Bracers of Mighty Striking (heroic tier)

Gurnlocke Fisk, level 2

Dwarf, Warlock
Eldritch Blast: Eldritch Blast Constitution
Eldritch Pact: Infernal Pact

Str 10, Con 20, Dex 8, Int 14, Wis 13, Cha 10.

Str 10, Con 18, Dex 8, Int 14, Wis 11, Cha 10.

AC: 15 Fort: 16 Reflex: 14 Will: 13
HP: 37 Surges: 13 Surge Value: 9

Insight +7, Religion +8, Arcana +8, History +8

Acrobatics, Bluff +1, Diplomacy +1, Dungeoneering +4, Endurance +8, Heal +2, Intimidate +1, Nature +2, Perception +2, Stealth, Streetwise +1, Thievery, Athletics +1

Level 1: Improved Dark One's Blessing
Level 2: Durable

Warlock daily 1: Flames of Phlegethos
Warlock encounter 1: Vampiric Embrace
Warlock utility 2: Fiendish Resilience

Leather Armor, Dagger, Warhammer, Backpack (empty), Bedroll, Flint and Steel, Lantern, Oil (1 pint) (10), Rations, Trail, Waterskin

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fight Notes

So, I almost didn't get a post up this week, after a wasted weekend and then meetings out of town mid-week. But it was important for me to get something up, and I'm feeling very satisfied that I did.
And I even ran a combat simulation to inform the writing!
Some notes: I used the same d20 to roll for all characters and "monsters," and I was rolling really high. I'm not sure this had a huge impact, given the way the fight went--most of the attacks would have hit even if I wasn't rolling 17s all the time.
Still, I was surprised, again, by this two-round knockout. The baddies added up to 1150xp, which is above my target of 1050xp for a hard encounter for a second level party. I figured it would be okay to add that seventh ninja, because the characters had a tactical advantage. I think I needed to fully double the number of monsters before it would have forced the characters in this party to break a sweat--one, so there would be enough guys to survive the first round, and two, so they could keep the party pinned with ready actions as they try to bust through a wall to facilitate a pincher-maneuver.
My friend Rich has learned with his group to massively overwhelm his players with level-approriate monsters. 4th ed is so generous to players, I think he's right.
Anyway, my fight notes:

         A.        Crew:

                 1.       Elf Rogue: Lurker 4, Rogue

                        a.        Loot: Amulet of Health +1 (L3), 2 potions of healing (actually 1, cuz drank 1 in combat), gold ring set with pearl (250gp), 20gp.

                        b.        Xp: 350

                 2.       Elf Archer: Artillery 4

                        a.        Loot: Bracers of the Perfect Shot (L3), 2 potions, 20gp.

                        b.        Xp: 175

                 3.       Elf Ninjas: 5 Skirmisher 2s

                        a.        Loot: healing potion, 20gp.

                        b.        Xp: 125 each

         B.        FIGHT!

                 1.       Round 1: (initiative determined by circumstances)

                        a.        Previously, all players set up with ready actions as follows:

                                    i       Mairrethid: Force Burst on whoever opens the door.

                               ii       Mez: Sly Flourish (dagger) on closest enemy he can see.

                          iii       Fisk: Vampiric Embrace on closest enemy he can see.

                               iv       Schlobrock: Righteous-brand on first enemy in melee range; if successful, attack bonus goes to Gherota.

                                    v       Gherota: Reaping Strike at first target in melee range

                        b.        N2: Opens Door, interrupted by readied actions.

                                    i       Mairrethid: Force Orb against N2 hits (attack 24 vs Ref 16, damage 18, N2 hp 14 bloodied). Secondary attacks against N1 hits (attack 24 vs Ref 16, damage 12, N1 hp 20), ER hits (attack crit, damage 15, ER hp 28), EA hits (attack 22 vs Ref 18, damage 12, EA hp 26), N5 hits (attack 22 vs Ref 16 damage 12, N1 hp 20), N3 hits (attack 18 vs Ref 16 damage 12, N1 hp 20). 71 hp of damage, total, to 6 targets.

                               ii       Fisk: Curse on N2; Vampiric Embrace against N2 (attack 15 vs Will 14, damage 18 +5 curse, Fisk thp 9, EA hp -7 dying).

                          iii       Mez: Sly Flourish against ER (attack 27 vs Ac 18, damage 12, ER hp 26).

                        c.        EA: Longbow against Gherota hits (attack 23 vs Ac 20, damage 10, G hp 22).

                        d.        ER: Deft Strike against Gherota--move interrupted by readied actions of Schlobrock (attack 26 vs Ac 20, damage 11, ER hp 15 bloodied) and Gherota (attack crit, damage 14, ER hp 1 bloodied)--continued (attack 22 vs Ac 20, damage 12, Ma hp 10 bloodied); move action shifts back out of room; drink healing potion (heal 10, ER hp 11 bloodied).

                        e.        N1: Chain and Sickle against Gherota hits (chain 24 vs Ac 20, damage 4 & grabbed, G hp 6 bloodied; sickle 13 vs Ac 20, miss).

                        f.        N2: dying.

                        g.        N3: Move into room, movement interrupted by opportunity attacks--Gherota miss (attack fail), Schlob hits (attack 19 vs Ac 16, damage 10, N3 hp 10 bloodied), Mez miss (attack 15 vs Ac 16)--then Chain and Sickle against Gherota (chain 26 vs Ac 20, damage 5, G hp 1 bloodied; sickle 25 vs Ac 20, damage 7, G hp -6 unconscious).

                        h.        N4: Move into room, Chain and Sickle against Mez (chain 12 vs Ac 19, miss; sickle 24 vs 19, damage 4, Mz hp 24).

                        i.        N5: Move forward, Sickle against Schlob miss (attack 15 vs Ac 17 +cover).

                 2.       Round 2

                        a.        Mairrethid: Flaming Sphere in ER’s square, misses ER (attack 10 vs Ref 18). Action Point Scorching Burst in ER’s square (ER: attack 26 vs Ref 18, damage 7, ER hp 4 bloodied) (EA: attack 23 vs Ref 16, damage 7, EA hp 19 bloodied) (N1: attack 21 vs Ref 16, damage 7, N1 hp 13 bloodied) (N3: attack 26 vs Ref 16 +cover, damage 7, N3 hp 3 bloodied) (N4: attack 26 vs Ref 16 +cover, miss) (N5: attack 17 vs Ref 16, damage 7, N5 hp 13 bloodied).

                        b.        Fisk: Delays action.

                        c.        Gherota: makes Death Save (roll 10), delays turn.

                        d.        Schlobrock: Healing Word on Gherota (heal 8+5, G hp 7), Righteous Brand vs N1 (attack 17 vs Ac 16, damage 14 and attack bonus given to Mez vs N1, N1 hp 6 bloodied).

                        e.        Gherota: Cleave against N4 (attack 17 vs Ac 16, damage 12 and cleave 5 to N3, N3 hp -2 dying, N4 hp 8 bloodied).

                        f.        Mez: Sly Flourish vs N1 (attack 23 +5 brand vs Ac 16, damage 15, N1 hp -9 dying).

                        g.        Fisk: Warlock’s Curse on ER, Flames of Phlegartharos against ER (attack crit, 35 damage, F thp 11, ER hp -29 dead).

                        h.        Morale checks, triggered by losing 50% of force and by leader’s collapse. This is an old school Wisdom check (roll Wisdom score or less to pass check), with success resulting in retreat (because these characters aren’t fantatics and they will lose). Factors: +2 bloodied, +2 leader down. Rolls: EA succeeds (roll 23 vs Wis 15), E4 fails (roll 13 vs Wis 15), E5 fails (roll 16 vs Wis 15). Yes, I am house-ruling, and yes, I'm still experimenting with it. All modifiers are ad hoc circumstance bonuses that just happen to make sense. Players can always argue for or against these.

                        i.        EA: Burned by Flaming Sphere (damage 5, EA hp 14 bloodied). Double move, running, to get 18 squares, clear out of the bathhouse and off the map.

                        j.        N4: Burned by Flaming Sphere (damage 5, N4 hp 3 bloodied). Chain and Sickle against Gherota (chain 10 vs Ac 20, miss; sickle 24 vs Ac 20, damage 6, G hp 5).

                        k.        N5: Burned by Flaming Sphere (damage 5, N5 hp 8 bloodied). Double move, running, to get 18 squares, clear out of the bathhouse and off the map.

                 3.       Round 3:

                        a.        Mairrethid: Cancels Flaming Sphere, Readies Magic Missile in case N4 moves or attacks.

                        b.        Schlobrock: Healing word on Gherota (heal 14, G hp 19), Moves to block N4’s exit, Readies Righteous Brand in case N4 moves or attacks.

                        c.        Gherota: Intimidate check against N4 to force surrender (check 17 vs Will 14, success; note that no bonus for N4 being Unfriendly or Hostile because N4 is a disinterested mercenary, also not a psycho with a death wish, also offended that his surviving allies ditched him).

                 4.       Note: None of the wounded (N1, N2 and N3) could have failed three death saves in this time, so I don’t need to roll them. Schlob and Gherota apply first aid, with Healing checks:

                        a.        Gherota stabilizes N1 (roll 15 vs DC 15)

                        b.        Schlobrock stabilizes N2 (roll 25)

                        c.        Gherota stabilizes N3 (crit)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chapter 11

Steam Room Defenders:

Gherota, Human Fighter, Level 1. First and foremost a front-line swordswoman, and quite skilled. Irritated by Fisk's violent, exploitative worldview.

Gurnlocke Fisk, Dwarf Warlock, Level 1. A bitter spell-slinger with powers touched by brimstone. An advocate for Machiavellian methods and strategies.

Mairrethid, Human Wizard, Level 1. Student of mechanical magic and military theory, a war mage. Both moderate rationalist and mediator.

Mez Gobbo, Goblin Rogue, Level 1. Lockpick and shadow-skulking cut-throat. Motivated by enlightened self-interest, a mercenary.

Schlobrock, Ork Cleric, Level 1. Nature-worshipping shaman and medicine woman, with a huge axe. Has trouble pronouncing the letters F, S, T and V.

First Ch 01: Poot's Angels
Chapter 10


The steam room door burst open.

Mairrethid already had his staff aimed at the doorway, and unleashed a blast of kinetic force against the elf standing in front of it.

The blast of force packed into the elf, doubling him over with a half-dozen cracked ribs. The kinetic charge radiated out, smashing into all five of the elves standing around him. Among them, there were five carrying sickles attached to a length of weighted chain--among them both the one originally hit and another standing outside of the blast radius. Another had a longbow, and a third carried a long dagger and hung back a bit from the others.

Fisk followed up with his own attack, first breathing an empowered curse and then latching onto the elf in the doorway with his own ectoplasmic tendrils to form an energy-sucking conduit. The elf twitched like a marionette and then collapsed, dying. Fisk relished the surge in his own power as the elf passed into unconsciousness.

Mez was quick with a dagger from his off-hand, tossing it against the elf with the long dagger, easily recognizing the enemies’ leader. He hit, with a solid strike.

Seven elves where in the hall, and one of them was down. They arrayed against Fisk and his allies, who were pressed into the back two-thirds of a fifteen-foot square steam room. This created a five-foot space that the elves had to cross to close with their enemy, maneuvering in through a doorway. Schlobrock and Mez flanked Gherota with weapons ready, while Gherota stood ready to take the best the elves’ had to offer on her armor and her shield. Mairrethid and Fisk stood behind them, hurling magic between their allies’ imposing presence.

The elf archer was ready, and he returned fire, slipping an arrow in around Gherota’s shield.

The elf with the long dagger darted in to follow up with his own deft knifework.

Schlobrock and Gherota were waiting for him with ready attacks, however. Schlobrock’s spear caught him first, charged with radiant light that poured through the gaping wound and lit him up like a flare for Gherota’s follow-up. Gherota gently turned into the elf, presenting her back for just a moment less than it took for the elf to land a blow, twirling quickly and following through with her sword. The result ripped through the elf’s throat, inches away from a perfect decapitation.

The elf continued to move forward, nearly collapsing against Gherota’s shield and stabbing around it--almost on instinct--before rebounding back into the hallway, fumbling a healing potion out of his pocket and downing it in a single gulp. His throat mended itself, more or less.

Another elf stepped over his fallen comrade and laid into Gherota, lashing at him with the chain first, and then the sickle. The chain did a little damage, and managed to tangle Gherota’s feet, while she easily deflected the more conventional attack from the sickle.

Another of the chain and sickle elves moved into the room, but he had to squeeze past his ally. In doing so, he drew attacks from the entire front line. Schlobrock skewered him pretty well, while the other two missed. The elf relished his opportunity--still breathing if badly wounded--to bring weapons to bear against Gherota, follow the double-attack pattern. Both ends of her chain and sickle hit, overcoming Gherota’s resolve and dropping her to the floor, dying.

Another elf squeezed into the room, using the distraction of his ally to avoid drawing any attacks against himself. He swiped at Mez with his chain, but the goblin easily dodged. He came around with his sickle, however, and managed to knick him.

The last elf to act used the full length of his chain to attack Schlobrock, through the doorway and past his allies. The attacked narrowly missed.

Three elves, all wounded, now faced the steam room defenders holding sophisticated chain and sickle weapons. Three of their allies where close at hand in the hallway outside, with the long dagger-wielding leader in the door, another chain and sickle elf and his side, and an archer behind him.

In the steam room, the defenders formed two ranks. The front was anchored by Gherota, who was unconscious due to her wounds. However, she was flanked on either side by Schlobrock and Mez, and backed up by the healing skills and magicks of her allies. The second rank include two magi, Mairrethid and Fisk, who continued to rain death upon their enemies from a distance.

Mairrethid had another spell ready, and conjured a large ball of concentrated heat right on top of the elf long dagger. He used the ball to lunge at his enemy, but the elf managed to dodge. However, the ball continued to bath everyone around it in scorching heat--with potentially lethal consequences.

“My spell will wear them down, so just hurt them bad, and that heat will finish them off,” Mairrethid said.

Fisk had his own spells ready to cast, but was waiting for a clear shot at the long dagger. He held steady and waited for the front line to clear out his enemies and prepare a clean shot.

Gherota held on to life, and somewhere behind her conscious mind, she knew that Schlobrock’s magic would return her to the battlefield, and with that second chance she’d answer for her hurt.

Schlobrock obliged, passing her holy words over Gherota while she plunging her spear into the healthier looking of the two elves in from of her. She struck, passing her glowing, guiding holy magic into the elf along with a nasty stab. This elf happened to be the one in the middle, who hadn’t made herself vulnerable to attack because he was the first to close with Gherota. That meant Mez could attack her target, and because Schlobrock was more confident in Gherota’s sword play, she passed the advantage of her fighting magicks on to Mez.

Gherota soaked in the magical healing energy of Schlobrock’s words, her wounds closing almost instantaneously. She stood, defiantly raising a sword that had never left her hand. With one stab, she passed her sword into the elf standing in front of Mez. He grunted painfully but defiantly as Gherota’s steel ran afoul of several vital-yet-not-immediately-fatal organs. Then she ripped it out, spinning the sword over the head of the middle elf and catching the third off-guard. The blade to the head was enough to take this third elf off his feat and lay him low.

Meanwhile, Mez used the distraction and drew his short sword through the still-glowing middle-elf’s chest with a cunning, disarming lack of interest. The elf fell to the ground, dying.

Fisk took advantage of all enemies between him and the long dagger elf being dropped to the floor--just as he had expected--and dropped his spell, summoning a wave of flames out of the ether and engulfing his target in a raging conflagration. The elf was dead before he hit the floor, and then continued burning.

“We were going to leave some alive for questioning,” Mairrethid hissed at Fisk.

“This dwarf goes to eleven,” Fisk said, clearly pleased with himself.

Gherota was back on her feet, and the rest of the steam room defenders were unharmed, except for Mez who had suffered a scratch. They maintained their starting posture, while their enemies were crippled and scattered.

The elves’ leader, with the long dagger, was dead and on fire. Three of the five who brought chains and sickles were dying on the ground. The two others, plus the archer, were all badly bloodied after twelve seconds of combat, and Mairrethid’s hovering fireball was blasting them with lethal waves of heat.

The elf archer turned tail and ran.

The other elf in the hallway followed him.

The elf in the room didn’t realize he was being abandoned, and flailed at Gherota with his chain and sickle.

Mairrethid let his flaming sphere wink out. Schlobrock moved to cut off the elf’s escape route. Everyone readied an attack for the moment the elf made a move.

And Gherota said, “We’re gonna kill you, unless you give up.”

The elf dropped his weapons, exhausted, standing on his last legs.

“We’ve got him covered,” Mairrethid said, meaning himself and Fisk who both had spells ready to deploy. “Tie him up, Mez. And let’s see about stabilizing the rest of the wounded.

“But I want to make them sacrifices to my black god,” Fisk whined.

“You can do that if this one doesn’t cooperate,” Mairrethid chided.

Schlobrock and Gherota went around applying bandages to the three wounded elves that remained, leaving them for Mez to tie up as none of them were conscious.

“Can you do something about him?” Gherota asked Fisk, gesturing to the corpse of the elf leader, still on fire.

“He’z quide dead,” Schlobrock said. “I can’d raize him.”

“He looks pretty razed to me,” Fisk chuckled.

“So, why did you try to kill us in the steam room?” Mairrethid asked the elf.

“Paid,” the elf gulped, “it was nothing personal.”

“Good enough for me,” Mairrethid said, grinning. “As long as you tell me and anyone else who asks who paid you.”

“It was Polygon Saul,” the elf explained without hesitation, “and he lives in the big house next door. He’s crazy, absolutely insane. I mean, if he finds out I talked and then catches me, he’s as likely to give me a promotion as to personally carve out my liver and eat it.”

“Huh,” Gherota exclaimed, overhearing the conversation.

“Will he have guards in the house with him?” Mairrethid pressed.

“Be sure of it. And he’s a mage, besides, so if you’re going to take him out, be ready for him,” the elf continued.

“You’re a smart one, elf,” Mairrethid complimented. “Now we’re gonna knock you out and stash you away until the fighting is over.”

Mairrethid cracked the elf with his staff and the elf went out like a light.

“Alright, so this plan is going better than I thought it would,” Fisk conceded.

“The merchant was right, that the whole town would turn on us if we barged into Saul’s place without justification. He may be a scumbag, but so is everyone in Red Creek,” Gherota reiterated.

Mairrethid nodded. “And, we seem to have a nack for digging in to a defensive position and destroying whatever comes after us. The situation did present us with an advantage.”

“It is a common dwarf tactic,” Fisk agreed, “but I’ve never liked giving up initiative.”

“Me eidher,” Schlobrock commented, “bud zomedimez dhere iz wisdom in playing dhe zpider.”