- Mikal, Level 3 Human Infernal-Pact Warlock
- Althea, Level 3 Eladrin Wizard
- Uthal, Level 3 Goliath Barbarian
- Kordan, Level 3 Human Fighter
Approaching the tower, the group notes a strong wooden door at ground level and some archers up on top of the tower. They knew the jailers were bugbears and that it would be a tough fight but there was no discussion of negotiation or deception. Althea used ghost sound to distract the archers as the party rushed the front door as quietly as they could. Not having a competent thief in the party Althea used her Fey Step to teleport inside, surprising a table full of bugbears playing dice. She then released the bar securing the door and welcomed the rest of the party inside and combat ensued. Facing the 4 man party was a 4 bugbear guard team who formed a battle line and dared the party to advance. This is where the barbarian's incredible mobility and the fighter's Tide of Iron proved their worth and made a mockery of their formation, splitting them and moving them into various positions advantageous to the team.
During the fight the head jailer bursts up out of a trap door to the dungeon and the fight gets a lot more serious. The barbarian takes a beating but unleashes a crit with some nasty barbarian power and takes a bugbear down, while the fighter exhibits his ever-improving stickiness by keeping the jailer off of the wizard, who is busy setting the hairy supergoblins on fire as is the warlock. Eventually the party triumphs in a tough fight that the DM rather enjoys.
After the fight the team heads downstairs and finds cramped smelly cells, one of which contains a seriously wounded cleric of Torm. They bind his wounds, get him mobile, and decide not to linger in the tower. On the way out it becomes apparent that the archers up top have sealed the trap door to their level with something heavy so the party makes a high speed exit from the area after ghost sound shows its efficacy again. Evading local patrols (Skill Challenge!) they eventually find a good spot to rest for the night and plan a way to heist the armor from the Banites.
Uthal Commentary on this session
DM Notes: This was a shorter session as we were down two players but we still had a good time. I spent some time setting up a skill challenge in case the party wanted to talk their way in to the tower but there was no need - my group is very much a Plan A team and there was no way they were going to negotiate with bugbears. Still, it felt good knowing they had the option if they chose to do so.
One of the missing characters for this session was the bard, and without a leader type the bugbear fight was somewhat tougher than it probably should have been, but it was a good close fight with a lot of maneuvering in tight quarters. Plus some bugbears have a fun little "grab" ability that lets them use a party member as a weapon. It didn't work out but it was fun to try. the fight lasted 8 rounds, which is on the longer side for us.
Several things are starting to become apparent about each character in combat:
- Once the Fighter gets on something it's not going anywhere, it's not making any ranged attacks, and it's not going to land a hit on anyone else. He's incredibly "sticky" and is a serious pain the DM's rear when it comes to executing a battle plan for the badguys. Plus as his reward for the Kuto's Well adventure he took a throwing shield, one he can throw and it returns to him in the same turn so he's not just a melee guy even when he's decked out for melee combat - now he's frigging Captain America too so he's getting even more ability to interfere with my combatants.
- If the barbarian wants to get somewhere he can do it regardless of what I throw in front of him. He's too strong to stop with a grab and his class abilities let him move through (or worse, charge through) opponent - occupied squares.and the Brutal hammer he uses ensures he gets decent damage at a minimum - most of the time it's much worse. He can be dropped, but it takes a lot of effort.
- The wizard has learned how important the phrasing of those area/burst/blast powers are, where "all enemies in burst" vs "all enemies in burst" makes a great deal of difference, particularly in how much grief yo uare going to get from your own party. As a result she mostly has "enemy" targeting spells now other than Thunderwave. That stupid auto-hitting magic missile is pretty annoying too as it's a guaranteed 8 points of damage every round ignoring cover etc and that's the bottom of her damage curve.
- The warlock is interesting as he often ends a fight with more hit points than he begins with. He has a very regular attack routine of Curse->Blast->Move (to maintain his concealment bonus) and pretty soon every enemy on the board has his little curse marker on it which means he gets temp hit points every time one of them dies. When pressed he can also unleash all kinds of area fire damage effects that usually mean he gets more hit points or some other bonus too. He is rarely tested in melee but he's annoyingly effective there too.
There was only one combat encounter in this session which seems a little low, but there was a fair amount of planning, then the fight, then a skill challenge, then some more planning so no one seemed to feel short-changed. it was another good example of role-playing in combat as various quips were made, exclamations uttered, and verbal kicks to sensitive parts of the anatomy. It was a good "action" session after the more talk session prior to this.