Thursday, October 13, 2011
ToEE 4E Session 2 - Bandits!
After the vicious battle with the deathrattle vipers our heroes staggered out of the ruins and returned to Hommlet to rest and regroup. Over the next few days the makeup of the party changed. Headed for the Moathouse we now have a Dwarf Druid (the Essentials one with a Bear for an animal companion), an Elf Bladesinger, an Eladrin Swordmage, and a Dragonborn Paladin. In-game the dwarf and the dragonborn are the same characters, we just had a profession tweak for each. The bladesinger and the swordmage are completely new to the party.
Arriving at the ruins the group crosses the rotting drawbridge once again and heads straight for the great hall only to discover the bandits waiting in ambush there! The ambush fails to a degree as everyone notices it (all made DC13 Perception checks) and a big fight breaks out. The bandits are in several clusters and some cover with crossbow fire while others move in. The initial move-in is met with a blast of dragon breath that fries several of them, and a solid line forms as Po the Panda moves up to fight next to the Paladin and the Swordmage while the Druid and Bladesinger fight from behind them as needed. In one exchange of blows the Swordmage launches a vicious attack that is completely countered by a bandit lieutenant but the bear next to him delivers a crushing blow.
The lesser bandits, a poorly trained rabble of thugs, prove to be no match for the deadly heroes and they are all down in less than a minute. Even the leaders, possibly former soldiers of some type, are quickly overcome by the skills of the party. The last leader and the bandit captain break and run and the leader makes it outside through a collapsed wall but the captain is caught and hauled down by the bear. As the last bandit flees across the moat he too falls to a magic missile from the Bladesinger, the final shot in this brief skirmish, and the bandit menace is wiped out.
Excited about their victory, the team decides to spend some time searching the rooms occupied by the band. After uncovering some coinage and some mundane equipment they decide to stay the night in the main room. Watches are posted and then they settle down for the night.
The interlude does not pass uneventfully however as the watcher eventually notices movement in the ruined upper works and sounds the alarm as five giant rats emerge from the shadows and charge in amongst the bedrolls and packs. A short and vicious fight erupts in the camp as the rats attack, converging on the Druid's bear companion and wounding him with several nasty bites. The bear gives as good as he gets though, and with the rest of the party in the fight it's only a matter of time. A lone rat survives to flee into the upper ruins, pursued by a magic missile and some thrown rocks unti lhe vanishes into the darkness. The heroes finally lower their guard and resolve to finish their interrupted rest, planning to explore the rest of the Moathouse in the morning.
DM Notes: This was our first session following the revamp of the characters. It's going to be interesting having a party with two defenders, a controller, a leader (the new Druid is a leader not a controller) and an animal companion. The lack of a striker doesn't mean much right now but I think as they level up that it will probably become an issue. At the very least some of the fights are going to last longer. The upside is that they should be tougher, something that has been a problem with some of their party mixes in the past. Hopefully it all works out.
I do like this Druid better - leave the melee to the animal companion, let the druid focus on healing, buffing, and ranged attacks -that's a better approach than trying to multitask a melee and ranged capability into one character. The bear's +2 to defenses to adjacent characters in a party with two defenders is just nuts. They're both around an AC20 to start with and pumping that to 22 means Tough with a capital T. The natural reaction would be to concentrate on the bear and its lesser AC but when he's sitting next to two characters that mark then it becomes difficult to do that without taking all kinds of damage, which somewhat mitigates the lack of a striker in the party. They may have hit on a really strong combination of effects here - time will tell.
They are having fun with the Temple. They know it's a "legendary" adventure so they are pumped about going through it and I'm pumped to have that aspect plus having a set campaign plan all the way through level 10 is a nice feeling as well. Schedules have been interfering again as school activities have ramped up, but we should be able to work in another session soon and perhaps even finish up the upper level of the Moathouse.