D&D 4th Edition Running player commentary on PCat's 4E Campaign - Heroic tier (finished)




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    Running player commentary on PCat's 4E Campaign - Heroic tier (finished)

    Yesterday was the first session of a new 4th Edition campaign, DM-ed by the esteemed Piratecat. While we had run a small handful of 4E “learn the system” sessions previously, this is our first experience with an ongoing campaign in the new edition. PCat has said that he expects the campaign to last about 5-6 years, so I expect we’ll learn a great deal about the ins and outs of 4E’s mechanics.

    Edit: this is the heroic tier thread. If you want the paragon tier thread, click here. Thanks!

    I’ve decided, therefore, to keep a “how the game is working” diary as we go along. This is NOT a Story Hour, though some references to the story will be unavoidable, and I reserve the right to editorialize shamelessly. I want this to be more about how the characters play and how the game mechanics hold up to the rigors of an ongoing campaign.

    Session 1:

    There are five PC’s in the party, all starting at 1st level, and one NPC who might be part of the group, though that’s not yet clear. The five PC’s are:

    - Toiva, Doppelganger Protecting Paladin (defender)

    - Dr. Elijah Caldwell, Human Two-Blade Ranger (striker)

    - Logan, Human Brawny Rogue (striker)

    - Cobalt Cartwright, Human Brawny Rogue (striker – that’s me!)

    - Strontium, Warforged War Wizard (controller)

    The NPC is a Tiefling named Caducity Skirr, and we don’t know her class.

    I think most players were able to make the characters they wanted to play, though Logan’s player would prefer if there were an INT-based Rogue subclass. “Brawny” is the best fit for him, though not a great fit.

    The first session was mostly role-playing, as we were introduced both to the game world and to one another. We have a decent mix of skills, though we’re light on INT-based knowledge skills like Nature and History, and I don’t think most of us have good Perception skills. I was personally involved in the first combat – a small one-on-one skirmish with a Halfling rogue, in which I was thoroughly thrashed. (Side note: in the first session, I rolled exactly 5 attack rolls and 2 initiative rolls. My highest roll among these seven rolls was a “5”. Odds of that happening: about 1 in 16,000.) Even while I was getting my knees punched and my groin kicked, it was an extremely fun and cinematic little battle. I play a tall human, and the little rogue was ducking, twisting, and striking me under the table to make it look like I was the buffoonish aggressor. (Which I was, technically – I threw the first punch after he insulted my mother). Piratecat has adopted the paradigm that the powers do what they say, but the flavor text can be altered to suit cinema, realism or both.

    While most of the other PC’s stayed out of the fight (basically between two rival soldiers while the sergeant looked on), our paladin did heal me once (subtly, under the guise of helping me to my feet), and that probably kept me from going unconscious.

    There was also a skill-challenge of sorts, though Piratecat didn’t say “Okay, here’s the skill challenge!” It was implicit – our party, as a teamwork exercise, was boated out into the swamp, dropped off, and left to get ourselves back to HQ on our own. There were plenty of skill checks made – athletics and acrobatics (to swim or avoid sinking), nature, perception, and diplomacy (when we happened across a fisherman’s hut and wanted to rent his boat). We opted out of one potential combat (by deciding not to investigate something suspicious that would have delayed our return to home base) but ended up with another one when a Level 4 crocodile attacked the boat. We beat up pretty well on the croc, since it was already evening and highly likely to be our only combat of the day. The big blow was the paladin’s daily (Radiant Delirium), that dazed it and gave it an AC penalty. It wasn’t a solo or an elite, so even though our attacks rated to miss (and its attacks rated to hit), our sheer numbers carried the fight. The paladin failed a balance check in the boat, but PCat granted a saving throw for her to fall back into the boat, instead of into the river. The battle was short and exciting, and saw the use of dailies, encounter powers, and at least one action point.

    In all, the system held up just fine. It greased the wheels of our role-playing and made for fast-paced and cinematic combats, though there was only one enemy per fight, so it was hardly a rigourous test. Picking which at-will to use wasn't a no-brainer -- different tactical set-ups changed which one seemed better to me. There were no confusing rules-moments – the only thing we had to check was whether you can attack with a ranged weapon through a space occupied by an ally. (Which you can, as allies don’t grant cover to enemies.)

    Can't wait until next game!
    Last edited by Piratecat; Friday, 25th February, 2011 at 05:45 PM.

 

  • #2
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    Can't wait until next game!
    Part of me has the feeling that, with P-kitty as the DM, this would be my opinion no matter what game I was playing. 4e, 3e, Shadowrun, heck, FATAL...I bet if anyone could run a good game of FATAL, it would be Piratecat.

    Sounds like fun. Though part of me was rooting for the crocodile to knock one of you in the river, just 'cuz of EXTRA DRAMA!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    Part of me has the feeling that, with P-kitty as the DM, this would be my opinion no matter what game I was playing.
    Can't disagree with that!
    Sounds like fun. Though part of me was rooting for the crocodile to knock one of you in the river, just 'cuz of EXTRA DRAMA!
    Actually, my rogue was already in the water; the boat wasn't big enough for the whole group, and since he's a decent swimmer, he volunteered to swim along behind while tethered to the boat by a rope. The croc went for him first (though it missed with its bite).

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    Actually, my rogue was already in the water; the boat wasn't big enough for the whole group, and since he's a decent swimmer, he volunteered to swim along behind while tethered to the boat by a rope. The croc went for him first (though it missed with its bite).
    DRAMA!

    I hope that doesn't become a recurring theme for poor Mr. Cartwright.

    "Wow, this dark pit in the earth sure smells like death, and I think I can hear bones cracking deep inside!"

    "Okay, put the bait in."

    "What?"

    "Cobalt. Tie him to a rope and throw him in the hole."

    "....WHAT?!"

    "Worked with the crocodile, right?"

    Nickname for the next 3 months: "Bait."

    Last edited by Kamikaze Midget; Saturday, 4th October, 2008 at 06:13 AM.
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  • #5
    Sounds like quite a lot of fun.

    Also, wow... 5-6 years, damn! That must be one massive campaign, most of my storylines have about a year or two worth of stuff.

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    This should be interesting reading. Thank you!
    Most sorts of diversion in men, children and other animals, are in imitation of fighting.

    -Jonathan Swift

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fallen Seraph View Post
    Sounds like quite a lot of fun.

    Also, wow... 5-6 years, damn! That must be one massive campaign, most of my storylines have about a year or two worth of stuff.
    That actually seems short to me! Piratecat's previous campaign, which just ended, lasted 16 years. And my own campaign, which still has a ways to go, will be 13 years old in November. Five to six years is just getting started!

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    Neat idea! BTW, is Pkitty going to turn the new game into a Story Hour? I looked, but didn't see a thread...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagiro View Post
    That actually seems short to me! Piratecat's previous campaign, which just ended, lasted 16 years. And my own campaign, which still has a ways to go, will be 13 years old in November. Five to six years is just getting started!
    You guys are lucky to have a group stick together so well over that much time.

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