4th playtest Blingdenstone - 3rd level PCs

Human Fighter Protector (Soldier- Jack of All Trades)
Human Wizard (Sage – Magic User)
Human Cleric (Priest – Acolyte)
Halfling Rogue Thief (Lurker + 3 skills)

This was our 4th session. We played for about 2 ½ hours. Lots of roleplaying/interaction - the backgrounds and specialties are really helping my players get into character.

The PCs had just retrieved singing crystals for Gurmadden so after helping him, they saw that Pingtu was trying to conduct a ritual near the Speaking Stones. They went to him and began conversing. After finding out information about the stones, and Pingtu’s attempt to contact his dead master, the group agreed to help him conduct the ritual one more time. The adventurers gathered with Pingtu and began the incantation. The all heard the voice of Bendekik and they realized that they already had many of the gems they needed. They gave Pingtu a citrine, an amethyst and a fire opal (one of the players had a ring with a fire opal in it from another adventure I ran them through at 1st level so I let them use it.) With Pingtu’s aquamarine, they realize that they must keep their eyes open for a ruby, a saphire and an emerald. (I gave them all a chance to make an intelligence check to see if they remembered that the Burrow Warden had an emerald necklace, but they all rolled 10 or less).

Pingtu asked them to bring back the other gems as they set off toward the House Center to retrieve the crown. (They had already learned about is previous game and they are not sure who to give it to. I think they are leaning towards giving it to Gurmadden, but we’ll have to see what they do when they get it).

I had them fight the 2 orc zombies, but then I had 2 more claw out of the rubble to attack the fighter. One of them hit the fighter, but the fighter used his parry to block all but 2 points of damage. The group dealt with the zombies quickly. The wizard was psyched to let his newly bound owl familiar fly at one of the zombies and deliver a successful shocking grasp.

The group entered the house center from the north door, and the fighter used his brute strength to push the door open. Inside they fought the fire beetles. The wizard couldn’t hold back…he used his burning hands to take them all out in one shot. Then, the group let the rogue sneak ahead. The rogue was very stealthy, and when he got to the first pit (he wasn’t searching for traps) the floor fell away, but he managed to jump back before falling into the spiked pit trap. Then, the wizard had his owl fly down the corridors. The wizard closed his own eyes and was able to see through the eyes of his familiar. That was cool. Using the bird as a scout, he could see 4 skeletons in the guard room, and the dead deep gnome in the alcove. The thief stealthily slipped past the guard room and checked out the fallen deep gnome finding his masterwork pick, a chain worth 15 gp and the key around his neck. (I didn’t give them a healing potion because right now, they don’t need it…they barely are injured and they each have one already from their previous adventures). After that, they drew the skeletons out of the guard house and fought with them…another quick and painless battle.

The party decided to stay on the east side of the dungeon and let the rogue scout all the way down to the south. As he got closer to the end, he was jumped by the giant centipedes, 3 of the 5 attacked him, and he got hit by 2 (although he made both Con saves). He ran back to the group, and the centipedes engaged with the fighter. The fighter took one bite but his parry saved him from damage (and he made his Con save too). Within 2 rounds the party cleaned up the centipede mess, and the rogue found the coins in the nest. They scouted around to find the doors into the other rooms, but they decided to back track to the beginning so that they didn’t have to open any doors. That’s were we stopped the session.

Commentary

The wizard’s familiar was a big hit. He loved having it around, and found many ways to use him.

The rogue was very effective as a scout, and even when he got jumped, he was able to get back to safety, and he used his sneak attack a couple of times resulting in overkills. Once against an orc zombie, he scored a critical sneak attack.

The fighter likes CS, but most of the time he just saves it for parry since most of the monsters don’t have enough hit points to make deadly strike worth using.

The priest is very effective, especially against undead. All he used was radiant lance though. He also took the lead speaking with Pingtu, enjoying the interaction with the deep gnome priest.

The group is having an easy time with this. I have added +2 to the monster “to hit” scores. I added an extra skeleton and 2 extra zombies in those encounters, but that did nothing to challenge them.

As DM, I’m starting to feel the same pressure I used to get when I planned and ran my 4e campaign…the pressure to make more challenging encounters. The little dinky encounters in the adventure do not even chip away at the adventurers enough to add tension to the game. I can’t wait for playtest package #3 …better monster vs. PC numbers.

Next game (using this playtest) I may add “+3” to all monster attacks. Perhaps the gray ooze in the other pit will give them a small challenge. I’m definitely going to make the fight for the crown much more difficult. I’m going to make Pharran a wight with 54 hit points, and I’m going to give him the 2 gnome skeletons and 2 Ogre skeletons (20 hp each with clubs that do 1d10+4 damage). I’m also going to give Pharran a chance to raise the dead once per encounter. I might even have Talabrina in the room so she can fight and then grab the crown at the last minute and run.