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 Post subject: Re: Shattered Star Feedback
PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:03 pm 
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Coriat wrote:
Feedback for last time:

-I enjoyed the RP and background. One caveat though is that while I don't think this party has any qualms about going after magic items on general principles, I do think that the IC motivation to do so right now was a bit thin. Presumably we will try to break the curse at some point, but we haven't had much talk of that yet or idea of how to do it, so the impetus to court more powerful curses seems a little shaky. That said, we have characters that are inclined to be interested regardless, so it's kind of academic.


This is a valid point, but I'll offset it with two others:
1. You're still quite early in this first adventure and,
2. You've not even discovered the exact nature of the curse or the effect of the artifact.

Coriat wrote:
Speaking of curses, I don't know why you were all so suspicious of Kari. There are no curses on Kari, I triple guarantee you.


Certainly 100% no curses on Kari. You can trust me on this.

Coriat wrote:
From the sound of it I guess I missed an ideal blasting situation. Alas...


You did indeed. Lots of enemies in a narrow choke point that they used to abuse the crap out of the party.

Coriat wrote:
This week's feedback to come. A comment I will append to last week's, though, is that there was some question of hit points in the current fight and whether to apply leftover damage from last week. Are we still using reserve points? If so that would have taken care of it, but I'm not exactly sure whether we're adopting Kain's house rules wholesale or a la carte.


I'll await your feedback on this week.

I am on board with reserve points, however, note that reserve points only function at a rate of 1 per minute and that you guys have gone through two days of very arduous combat with minimal healing, repeatedly citing reserve points. I'm curious as to each players reserve point totals at this point. Please post those totals as part of your continuing feedback (for each player).

Coriat wrote:
Following on from that, it might be good to maintain a campaign-specific list. I'm not sure that the approach of incorporating Kain's houserules by reference and then posting only differences from those served Wicked well... it seems like a lot of rules in the former category would get forgotten or applied inconsistently. Might be a decent medium-term goal to put together a campaign list. Thoughts?


Valid point. I'll see if I can get a full list together, if only for the reference point of others.

My own feedback on you guys this week is pending feedback from all three players.


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 Post subject: Re: Shattered Star Feedback
PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:14 pm 
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Both true on your points Roon. If it would be useful to you to have help on the house rules thing, I have some down time now and again at work.

Feedback for this session:

I think we might have treated the rope obstacle a little more cautiously than it truly warranted given its apparently low difficulty, but that was not immediately evident and it's best to be cautious around 200 ft drops.

The setting of the dungeon seems neat, although I missed the opening description. Remind me not to forget the treasure we bypassed.

The fight was a really tough one, and it was evident from the beginning that it would be. We were outnumbered, what, three to one? That the flunkies had evasion suggests that they were our level, too. If it were not for our high opening Intimidate checks, and hoping to make something of that, I'm not sure I would have supported going on the offensive. Even with that, I think we got three big breaks our way in the fight (neatly enough each PC contributing one), lack of any of which would have lost us the fight.

First was Kari getting missed by the leader's readied shot and getting off a blast that killed two of them. I could tell that that readied shot was coming and did everything I could to make it miss. Somehow I can't see any of the enemy breaking and running if I'd followed up the Intimidate checks by bursting out and urgh-fizzling, but on the other hand getting several enemies from full to dead was a key opportunity to hammer the checks home.

(I should say also that I appreciated that that social/combat combo punch had an impact, DM)

Second was Alfie landing the tanglefoot. Given that it hit the leader on both attack and damage it was a big debuff and I think it was probably the only reason Phae was still standing for the third big break, which was Phae managing to knock the leader down with a crit on her last-gasp attack.

Once the leader went down, finally getting the wererat was less a lucky break than a predictable result of throwing Reflex save after Reflex save at her. All I have at this level is a hammer, but it's a big fucking hammer and, as Kari remarked IC, it only takes one missed dodge.

Incidentally, if Phae had gone down without taking the leader with her, Kari was going to try to strike a ceasefire.

In any case, a very tough and dramatic fight.

I will say that it was a mistake for Kari to use his claws at all this fight. I mostly had providing flanking in mind, but I'm not sure the flanking bonus panned out and turned any misses into hits, while it definitely did cost some blasting. And of course I didn't hit the broad side of a barn myself :p Our positioning was also fairly tight in the early rounds in terms of minimizing exposure, but not as tight in the second half of the fight. It might have been better to form up side to side - going for flanking when there's multiple meleers on each side typically ends up with both sides flanked (ABAB...). AAA might have been stronger for us given that their flanking came with extra d6s.

The cut ropes is an interesting twist but I'm not too worried. I think we should be able to go out the secret door we failed to open in the beginning? And our new friend* would know where it is from this side. I'm also cool with just fighting our way down into the dungeon and seeing what we find.

*this is why I have Charm Person and not Magic Missile :p

Re: how many reserve points do we have, I do not have records for before we resumed the game due to the old laptop issues that I have mentioned before. I think that Kari likely used a fair amount at that time, however, since he was badly wounded in the first fight against gold girl and did not drink his csw potion from our patron at that time. My own reserve points aren't relevant to this past fight, but for the future I am just going to run on a worst-case assumption and say that Kari had none left after our first tangle with gold girl, which means just a few points recovered in the meantime (of which I have used none).

We are a small party. Do we want to think about bringing company in the future?


Last edited by Coriat on Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Shattered Star Feedback
PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:13 pm 
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WarDragon wrote:
Quote:
Speaking of curses, I don't know why you were all so suspicious of Kari. There are no curses on Kari, I triple guarantee you.

That's just what a cursed person would say!


Oh ye of little faith!


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 Post subject: Re: Shattered Star Feedback
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:22 pm 
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I have yet to apply any reserve points. I always forgot about them in Kain's game, since fast healing, and thought we'd never gone long enough between fights for them to kick in on this one. We really need to start checking those.


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 Post subject: Re: Shattered Star Feedback
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:53 pm 
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I failed to apply any reserve points, either. I also don't have access to the mIRC logs to check how much damage was taken, but as we'll be using Google Hangouts moving forward, it shouldn't be an ongoing problem.

I really thought we were about to TPK there, and I'm glad we didn't, because, of the PCs, I think I would have been the biggest contributor to putting us in a position to get TPK'd.

Despite Coriat's charitable assessment, I made at least two huge blunders that session. The first was going after Blondie too soon instead of being patient and waiting until we'd cleared out the mooks. I'd thought that if we could get her out of the fight, they'd scatter, but once the wererats emerged, it was clear that wasn't the case.

The second was not realizing soon enough to actually use it that ill omen, while good for save-or-suck with Kari's charm person, was equally applicable to making sure that Kari's freezing hands, which, at this level, is basically save-or-die, had an improved chance of taking out the second wererat.

Overall, very much not happy with what I brought to the table (or, rather, what I failed to bring to the table), and I'm sorry for putting Coriat and WD in that position.

Moving forward, as far as getting down from where we are, the next day Alfie can channel Archmage to net us feather fall, though she'll then be locked in for the day. That said, we'd have to come back and clear the place out eventually, and if we're going to rest (it's kind of a pity we used all our healing potions up right before we ended up resting anyway), we may as well press ahead at this point, after trying to interrogate Blondie.


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 Post subject: Re: Shattered Star Feedback
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:42 pm 
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In the future, if we could get feedback in before the day before the next session, that would be helpful to me. As a whole, the earlier it happens the better, because it opens the door to discussion and potential avenues the party may go (e.g. recruiting others to help them) and lets me prepare for it.

Please ensure your characters are fully updated to level 3 before the session starts tomorrow.

Quote:
I think we might have treated the rope obstacle a little more cautiously than it truly warranted given its apparently low difficulty, but that was not immediately evident and it's best to be cautious around 200 ft drops.


Given that a 200ft. drop at this level is probably death for any of you (save maybe Phaedra when fused), being careful was good. I appreciated the problem solving applied (e.g. tying a rope around people). The DCs involved were indeed quite low, but this is not the most graceful party. Taking 10s was a good idea.

Quote:
The fight was a really tough one, and it was evident from the beginning that it would be. We were outnumbered, what, three to one? That the flunkies had evasion suggests that they were our level, too. If it were not for our high opening Intimidate checks, and hoping to make something of that, I'm not sure I would have supported going on the offensive. Even with that, I think we got three big breaks our way in the fight (neatly enough each PC contributing one), lack of any of which would have lost us the fight.


The fight as set up was intended to be extremely difficult and likely to result in a TPK if you simply charged in trying to kick in the door. At that point they’d had minutes to gather as many people as they felt they needed, heal, and prepare for your attack. As such, charging in given those odds did have a high probability of a TPK. You were taking a number of separated encounters and facing them all at once (reminds me of a certain fight in Opar).

Quote:
First was Kari getting missed by the leader's readied shot and getting off a blast that killed two of them. I could tell that that readied shot was coming and did everything I could to make it miss. Somehow I can't see any of the enemy breaking and running if I'd followed up the Intimidate checks by bursting out and urgh-fizzling, but on the other hand getting several enemies from full to dead was a key opportunity to hammer the checks home.


You did indeed catch a break on this. As it was that action took out an array of enemies even beyond those Kari dropped and substantially changed the outcome.

Quote:
(I should say also that I appreciated that that social/combat combo punch had an impact, DM)


I try to work in player actions as best I can, providing the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. I’m glad you appreciate it.

Quote:
Second was Alfie landing the tanglefoot. Given that it hit the leader on both attack and damage it was a big debuff and I think it was probably the only reason Phae was still standing for the third big break, which was Phae managing to knock the leader down with a crit on her last-gasp attack.


The tanglefoot bag definitely saved you some damage in missed attacks. Gold was intentionally the most dangerous single enemy on the board, and debuffing her was not a poor choice.

Quote:
Once the leader went down, finally getting the wererat was less a lucky break than a predictable result of throwing Reflex save after Reflex save at her. All I have at this level is a hammer, but it's a big fucking hammer and, as Kari remarked IC, it only takes one missed dodge.


You do indeed carry a pretty big stick – and good thing. Wererat damage reduction is a real danger at this level, especially given your lack of a weapon wielding frontliner.

Quote:
Incidentally, if Phae had gone down without taking the leader with her, Kari was going to try to strike a ceasefire.


That would have been interesting to see play out, and I’m sort of sad we didn’t get to see it.

Quote:
I will say that it was a mistake for Kari to use his claws at all this fight. I mostly had providing flanking in mind, but I'm not sure the flanking bonus panned out and turned any misses into hits, while it definitely did cost some blasting. And of course I didn't hit the broad side of a barn myself :p Our positioning was also fairly tight in the early rounds in terms of minimizing exposure, but not as tight in the second half of the fight. It might have been better to form up side to side - going for flanking when there's multiple meleers on each side typically ends up with both sides flanked (ABAB...). AAA might have been stronger for us given that their flanking came with extra d6s.


I agree that Kari going for the claws didn’t prove to be a particularly useful action given his low attack bonus and large number of spell slots on the day, though setting up flanks for Phaedra (who’s attack bonus is very low for this level) definitely helps out. She’s a huge fat bundle of hit points, but those saying that a synthesis completely replaces a barbarian or a fighter (either of whom could easily be swinging at +8 for 2d6+6 or better) is something of a joke to me. Both would seem to have a place (especially as without our house rules she’d not also be summoning).

You’re right on your late round positioning following part. Letting the two rogues apply consistent flanks was a big reason they were able to put out just that much damage on later rounds, especially as my dice got hot.

Quote:
The cut ropes is an interesting twist but I'm not too worried. I think we should be able to go out the secret door we failed to open in the beginning? And our new friend* would know where it is from this side. I'm also cool with just fighting our way down into the dungeon and seeing what we find.


I don’t recall any doors you were ultimately unable to open, but having someone that has been inside the Crow that could give you details as to its layout, the number of people within, and likely dangers is quite useful. It’s a shame you didn’t have anyone that could have provided that kind of intelligence before you staged your assault.

Quote:
We are a small party. Do we want to think about bringing company in the future?


As in other players or NPCs? Either can probably be arranged.

Quote:
That was a pretty intense game. The rope navigation puzzle wasn't immediately obvious, but not too difficult once the dice cooperated. Obviously, the big fight was the main feature of the session.


Yep.

Quote:
You've said more than once you thought we were all dead once we charged in. I have to admit, for a moment there, I thought the same. It was definitely won by the skin of our teeth, kinda literally in Phae's case. Honestly, given our resources at the time, I'm struggling to think of an alternative we could have done. I was on my very last summon, had no offensive spells and only one spell slot left. They were far better prepared for ranged combat than we were, with only Alfie's sling and an unfused Phaedra's crossbow, maybe a couple of cantrips. I feel like getting into a shooting match with them, even from cover, would only have resulted in us getting slowly worn down.


You are proceeding forward from the assumption that combat was the only viable outcome. You could have tried to strike a deal with Gold. You could have tried to turn them against each other. You might have continued to make threats. You could have withdrawn and come back with more allies. There were options available to you that did not involve having to fight your way through their entire ambush. I’m not going to force you to take that path, but it is open.

Quote:
The Intimidate checks definitely saved our asses in that one, even if it led to longer term problems later. Kind of a recurring theme for adventurers everywhere, isn't it?


Every action has its consequences. Frankly, as a whole, I’ve been pretty mild on this, e.g. wandering bloodied and beaten through the streets with bloodied and beaten others in your custody, murdering people in the street and making no effort to report it to authorities, and so forth.

Quote:
I really thought we were about to TPK there, and I'm glad we didn't, because, of the PCs, I think I would have been the biggest contributor to putting us in a position to get TPK'd.


This fight was not really Alfie’s to shine in, for sure, though a big part of that has to do with the nature of being low level and another big part of it has to do with being a more generalized character. Alfie doesn’t have many options open to her, and mechanically doesn’t have a big stick she brings to the fight in the same way that Phaedra or Kari does (especially given their relatively high degree of mechanical optimization). I’m hopeful that level 3 will provide her with some new toys to play with to better carve out her place.

Quote:
Despite Coriat's charitable assessment, I made at least two huge blunders that session. The first was going after Blondie too soon instead of being patient and waiting until we'd cleared out the mooks. I'd thought that if we could get her out of the fight, they'd scatter, but once the wererats emerged, it was clear that wasn't the case.


Splitting attention between multiple foes almost never works out.


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 Post subject: Re: Shattered Star Feedback
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:26 am 
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I think what the RP half of the session really shows is that Kari is a fantastically nice person whenever he's not freezing people to death, threatening to do the same, or just selectively freezing parts off of them. Other than those minor little things, practically a boy scout.

Clearly Alfie has a strong conscience going, with Phae a bit more conflicted.

I feel better about the fight we ended in than I did about the one in the hall. I figure if we saw off three of them plus a rat pack while we weren't prepared, we can beat two of them while we are. The really big threat last time was that we were low on resources and (some of us) hit points, and Phae wasn't prepared for combat. None of that is a factor now. Still, the leader looks dangerous. We stopped her before she got into melee last time, we'll see how things work out this time.

I'm wondering whether she used the magic hot door to melt her eyes. That would be pretty cool. If so, I could see why she's pissed. Probably hurts.


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 Post subject: Re: Shattered Star Feedback
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:20 pm 
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One thing I like about playing a medium is that while she can have an attack bonus that makes all of you do a double-take, even in situations where weapons are not the ideal solution (for instance, vs wererats where melee with a silver weapon is not ideal due to sneak attack and ranged weapons don't bypass DR), her spells still allow her to play a strong supporting role.

Ill omen is incredibly powerful for a 1st level support spell if you have the right teammates – when something absolutely positively has to fail its next save, especially since we're still at the point where spell resistance is rarer. Once it starts popping up, I expect the utility of ill omen will diminish somewhat. Small wonder it was limited to witches prior to Occult Adventures.

That Fort +... 12, I think? Was a bit of a surprise, and it definitely gave me the feeling we were out of our depth against boss wererat until Kari successfully blinded it.

There was definitely a big "oh ****" moment when it dropped that boss wererat might be about to forcibly convert all the remaining Tower Girls into wererats, going from having to mop up the remainder to facing a number of wererats comparable to the number of Tower Girls we faced when we were nearly TPK'd was a really daunting prospect. Glad we don't have to deal with that after all, even if it'll be a race against time to cure the lycanthropy of the remaining Tower Girls assuming we survive the battle with boss wererat.

I definitely feel like we've kind of gone off the rails with how we're approaching this dungeon and how the writers assumed the dungeon would progress, so kudos to Aluroon for adapting.


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 Post subject: Re: Shattered Star Feedback
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:13 pm 
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Puella (and Camilla with the mechanically similar misfortune hex) didn't get a ton of mileage out of Ill Omen at low level, due largely to the lack of saving throw using teammates. It's still a solid spell (and Puella's lesser quicken rod was in large part aimed to let her use ill omen for her own saving throw spells - that's a good way to keep it fresh in the mid/high levels, Glab).

The Kari-Alfie team definitely adds to its luster, though.

Oh, and from last week,

Quote:
Quote:
We are a small party. Do we want to think about bringing company in the future?


As in other players or NPCs? Either can probably be arranged.


I'd be open to either, but wondering what the others think.


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 Post subject: Re: Shattered Star Feedback
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:00 pm 
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Yeah, Phaedra is definitely much less formidable if she doesn't have at least a minute of prep time to eidolon up prior to combat. I do feel like this level and the next are where she'll really start to hit her stride, mechanically speaking. I'm *almost* tempted to take a fighter dip to bolster her attack and AC, but losing even a single level of summoner this early on would hurt. I may revisit the idea later.

Roleplay wise, "conflicted" is definitely a good word for her. She tries to be a decent person, by her own aristocratic lights (her parents are LG/LN), but that's balanced by the seductive lure of CE-flavored draconic power. Alfie is undoubtedly shaping up as the group's conscience, and the one person that Phae is most likely to run a moral dilemma by, and she envies Kari's absolute confidence even while holding her own share of arrogance. Goldie was definitely a test of that, which is why I said I should probably have talked to her in human form, to reign in the darker urges.

Little bit concerned about this upcoming fight, but not hugely. Hopefully, we can blind her again, or if not, bum rush her down quickly. If this dungeon has indeed gone off the rails, then mucho props to Pete for adapting.

Definitely open to recruiting an NPC helper or another player. I believe I commented last week that, "we need a Mari."


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