Monday, February 21, 2011
Well the long weekend game is over and we survived. It was much like the old days - Much junk food was consumed. arguments were had, actions were debated, babies were entertained (that one is not like the old days) and in the end a dragon was slain and the threat to the people of Urnst was ended.
This 20 hour plus run also confirmed for me that running for 8 players in 4E is just a bad idea for an ongoing campaign. For a one-off it can be managed but trying to do that every week or every other week while balancing things and keeping everyone involved is going to turn into work pretty quickly, and that's not why I do this. In a mechanically simpler game like Basic D&D or Labyrinth Lord I can see it happening, but not 4E.
At points it did run slow but everyone was having fun and that's the main objective. With D&D being the Common Tongue of RPG's it's probably the only game that could have pulled in that kind of turnout (although I think a supers game would have been a blast too).. Even so, some players were not especially familiar with the rules and everyone was playing new characters so it took some time to work out how the group should work together. I won't claim it was smooth by the end of the run but it was better than when we started.
Lady Blacksteel's character and mine did work pretty well together. Our knock-em-down-then-stab-them-on-the-ground team inflicted serious damage and meant that at least we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do when a fight broke out. The Goliath Warden and I worked well too and spent a fair share of the time taking our beatings from the enemy to help make our team look good. Playing my first defender type in 4E was enlightening and it is very different than fighters in earlier versions. Many powers key off of the actions that others take so that I had to constantly pay attention to what was happening to see if I had a chance to inflict punishment on an unwise enemy - many thanks to my spotters at the far end of the table who caught things I might have missed. I also discovered that Orc archers can be extremely nasty when left unmolested and with the party bunched up - next time we're going after them first.
The only arguments that really sprang up happened because of the only real recurring issue I've seen with 4E: Powers and effects are given names and flavor text to describe their mechanical effect. Sometime people get too focused on the description or the name and expect things to work mechanically different because of that. Stealth, Superior Cover provided by arrow slits, the Prone condition, and a few others generated some spirited discussion and I wasn't concerned until the magic words "but in the real world..." were uttered but we shut things down pretty quickly after that. That particular phrase is a peeve of mine when gaming and I'm glad it didn't drag out.
We fought a black dragon at the end and he had a hard time of it facing off against 8 characters. At one point he was Marked, Quarried, Knocked Prone, Slowed, Immobilized, and Bloodied, was inside at least 2 magical zone effects and was also flanked by at least two characters and that with him fighting from water against characters on a bridge and ledge! His rider didn't fare much better caught in the storm of area blasting magic that came down on the dragon he proved to be far less durable and went down almost as an afterthought
It's probably been 20 years since I've done anything like that and I had a really good time. Now I'm thinking it should at least be an annual occurrence. I'd be tempted to make it the same characters but use different versions of D&D every year, but I'm not running it and that's probably better for everyone. Thanks to my friends for running it and for hosting it and to everyone else for showing up and sticking with it. I'm looking forward to next time.