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Saturday, 4th October, 2008, 05:47 AM #1
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
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.
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.
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