As the title says, I'm planning on begin running WotBS for 5e (probably in a couple of months), and I would appreciate any advice on what preparations are recommended for it, especially for the first adventure.
Yes, the stat block is correct. Challenge Rating (CR) is a mix of hit points, AC, damage per round (DPR), and attack bonus. His HP starts his defensive CR at 1/8 which is bumped up two levels to 1/2 because his AC is 17 instead of 13. His DPR starts his offensive CR at 4, which is not modified as his attack bonus is the expected +5. The average of the two is 2.25, which rounds to 2. The mistake in the stat block is that it says "CR 3".Some possible errata as I find it:
- Flaganus (Fallen Devil encounter in Act 2) si stated to normally have 71hp (11d8+22) as a CR 4 NPC, but currently at 19, so he's a CR 2. The p. 274 (Monster Statistics by CR) state that a CR 4 monster would have 116-130h hps, while a CR 2 would have 86-100. Are the published stats intentional?
Thank you for replying so fast!Yes, the stat block is correct. Challenge Rating (CR) is a mix of hit points, AC, damage per round (DPR), and attack bonus. His HP starts his defensive CR at 1/8 which is bumped up two levels to 1/2 because his AC is 17 instead of 13. His DPR starts his offensive CR at 4, which is not modified as his attack bonus is the expected +5. The average of the two is 2.25, which rounds to 2. The mistake in the stat block is that it says "CR 3".
Thanks for the feedback, a couple things to note:So, I just wrapped the second session and it was a case study on why you may try to cover as many possibilities in a pre written adventure, but the players will always find a way to derail it
After rescuing Rivereye, the party declined the possibility of resting at the safe house as, while they had used quite a few spells, they were quite healthy with the exception of the rogue, who had triggered a trap from the lockers at the Depository. So they went to Gabal's Tower. There they met Diogenes, who tried to be as welcoming as he could, but the players would have none of it, just trying to wrest out whatever information he had about the elven spies. He finally told them about the elven student (Shahael) who he had a beef with, and off they went in the typical paranoid murderhobo fashion, after merely asking where her room was, so no careful planning for any fake duel tricks from Diogenes, in spite of his efforts to offer them something to drink. Consequently, I had to improvise, not only for this situation, but also to accommodate the fact that Larion and the lantern archon had escaped in the previous act because of a lucky initiative roll. The adventure states that, in this eventuality, Larion runs to warn Shahael about the adventurers, so I figured that the party had arrived while such an encounter was taking place. However, I figured that their conversation couldn't be happening in Shahael's room (whichever that might be) because then things would be uncomfortably... cramped... with her, Larion, the lantern archon, and a party of five, plus Torrent. So I placed them in the third level, with the lantern archon guarding the staircase.
Then, as soon as the party arrived at the second floor, the cleric with a passive Perception score of 21 (the Observant feat might be a bit broken, I think...) quickly notices the lantern archon and sounds the alarm. Initiative is rolled, and while the party climbs to the third level, Shahael casts Invisibility on herself, and Larion tries to hide. And fails miserably. The dwarven fighter gets to the top of the stairs and is hit by a ranged attack from Larion. The paladin dashes towards Larion, withstanding an opportunity attack from the archon. Diogenes shots an Acid Arrow at the archon from the stairs, and Torrent goes up and gives some support with spells. The wizard and the rogue engage the lantern archon and finish it off despite dealing only half damage. The cleric surges forward and crushes Larion's side with a mighty blow.
And then Shahael casts Fireball.
It was the sensible thing for her to do. She caught pretty much everyone in the area, and Larion was safe because of her sculpt spell class feature. Still, 8d6 is something to fear for 3rd level characters. Even with Bless half the party failed the DC 14 saving throw and put got them making death saving throws.
As much as I dislike when this happens, it was in part thanks to the NPCs that the party could continue the encounter (I was quickly thinking on the spot that, if worse came to worse, they would awaken with aid given by NPCs after the elves had escaped). Diogenes poured a potion of healing in the wizard, and Torrent healed the dwarven fighter. The cleric did the rest with a Prayer of Healing, after which he moved in front of Shahael to try to disturb or at least make difficult for her to cast another Fireball. Meanwhile, Larion took the opportunity to try to escape and made it half up the stairs, trying to get to the top floor but was prevented from doing so by an arrow from the rogue and a serious beating and throwing back down from the stairs by a very disgruntled (and half burnt) dwarf.
Shahael finally turned herself invisible again and fled, evading an opportunity attack from the cleric.
Seeing matters as they were, Larion yielded.
This outcome had another interesting set of consequences, as the party coerced the information about the Gatemaker's Shop from Larion, got him to identify and open the secret entrance to the building and dismiss the celestial badgers, and then was used as a bargain chip with the elven spies to convince them of giving away the case under the promise of copying the information contained within. Of course, as that would take quite a while and both parties were in a hurry for leaving de city, they told the elves to come with them until they were out of the city. So now a sizeable group of players and NPCs are in the house of the councilman preparing to increase the numbers of a border patrol by ten characters (eleven counting the player that couldn't play this session). Oh, well...
Another unfortunate victim of the players' unforeseen actions was the plot thread with the imp. While traveling to the elven ghetto, the cleric noticed the imp in raven form shadowing them. He told the rest of the party about it, and afterwards the rogue hid and proceeded to hit it with a critical sneak attack shot. Even with resistance to piercing damage the poor fiend didn't stand a chance.
If I were to point some things out of this session, it would be the following:
All in all, it was good fun. I can't wait to see how my players utterly destroy the next encounters
- Shahael is quite a formidable opponent for a 3rd level party. If Larion and the lantern archon are with her, and the party doesn't heed Diogenes' suggestions, the encounter can be quite brutal.
- The maps could use a bit more information and, in particular for the Roll20 version, some reworking. The map of Gabal's Tower could be split in smaller chunks, being a bit unwieldy as it is. Also - and this may be my inexperience with the platform - I couldn't enable the fog of war in some maps (Depositoru Gabal's Tower, Gatemaker's Shop).
- Something to commend of the Roll20 version is the addition of maps for the Gatemaker's Shop, that are missing from the original adventure.
Oh, I place the responsibility of this encounter almost finishing them off fully at my players' feet. I hope that continuing experience (or death!) teaches them some caution![...] If their first response is always to attack, it is likely going to come back to bite them eventually.
I understand. I was just relying my experience. Still, maybe the map of the tower grounds could be separated from the tower's levels for easier management?It is a difficult balance with some maps on Roll20. For multi-level maps such as Gabal's tower, it works better to keep everyone on the same Roll20 page if possible. It makes things a bit unwieldy, but Roll20's initiative is run on a per-token basis. You cannot move a token between pages; only copies of tokens can be made on other pages, and a player cannot see the initiative of any tokens (including their own) that are not on the page they are on. This makes multi-level battles on different map pages not work well.
I'm just trying to react accordingly to whatever happens and praying it doesn't take everything off the railsGet ready for a lot of interesting consequences from how things go. The adventures only describe one way things might happen, and the early adventures all warn against railroading the players. It sounds like you had set up some nice cause and effect of their actions and how the earlier encounter had gone. In my game, one of the heroes was having a bit of a mental breakdown after his love was killed. He blamed Ragesia and started executing some of General Magdus's soldiers that the heroes had captured. When they met General Magdus later, he was excluded from any negotiations.
Oops! I certainly didn't catch that!. I guess the late hours caught me off guard...The casting time for prayer of healing is 10 minutes. That caught me out the first time I had it in one of my games.
Hehe, thanks! Ever since I first read the term "murderhobo" I can't but admit that it is the usual behavior of a D&D partyI enjoyed your update, Dimitri. +1 for using the word "murderhobo".
Hehe. We're just a bunch of players in their late 30s, early 40s, that try to get some time to play, and now is the turn of the player that usually runs games to get some play, so I try to be somewhat benevolent.I have to say, if either of the groups I had DM'd had gone racing in with spells blazing, I would have gleefully incinerated them all -- and, under the 3.5 version, those who had failed their saving throws would have needed to be swept up into an ashtray. Thankfully, both groups opted for a much more diplomatic approach -- a bit dull, but much less cleaning required.
In my game, the heroes had rescued mercenaries from the burning pub, so they were already on Kathor's good side. They tied up the remaining mercenaries and left them to their own devices, sending Kathor back to Gate Pass with both their horses and the mercenaries horses (which will dovetail nicely when they return to Gate Pass).Question: In The Gauntlet encounter it states that if Renard is killed Kathor orders his men to stand down and surrender. If this came up in your game, how did you manage it? Did the party released them? Took them as prisoners? What did they do about them then? I'm thinking that if that possibility comes to pass in my game, it will be quite a pickle. There's a paladin in the party, so they won't be executed of they surrender. But I can't think what they may come up with as a solution...
If the Shahalesti take the intelligence, Shalosha brings it to the first war council in adventure 3. The book is actually quite extensive and would take a long time to copy. In my game, the heroes copied 5 pages, and Shalosha brought the journal in adventure 3.I'm just trying to react accordingly to whatever happens and praying it doesn't take everything off the rails
For example, the party negotiated with the sahalesti spies to copy the intelligence documents and then part ways. I will try to find a way to have it done before the second adventure, preferably before Act Five: The Inquisitor, but I'm not sure what consequences might bring that both the resistance and Shahalesti have access to the documents...
My first group of players did something similar: They let the cannon fodder have some horses (but no weapons!) and let them go back toward Gate Pass, but demanded that Kathor never return to Gate Pass. He agreed, since I didn't figure it mattered, then discovered he's supposed to help liberate Gate Pass. I figured he would demand that he be released from that agreement and demand a duel if he wasn't released, but the game fell apart before then.In my game, the heroes had rescued mercenaries from the burning pub, so they were already on Kathor's good side. They tied up the remaining mercenaries and left them to their own devices, sending Kathor back to Gate Pass with both their horses and the mercenaries horses (which will dovetail nicely when they return to Gate Pass).
Maybe this is a consequence of me running the 3.5 version of the adventures, but I never felt the need to rush it. I assumed it would take Shealis a while to get to Calanis with the vital military intelligence, so I put off them learning anything about it until they reached Seaquen -- and then, I simply had the Shahalasti send the heroes dreams describing what they have learned. The heroes still get the information they need, just indirectly. I can't see them sending the vital military intelligence with Shalosha -- too big a risk of losing the information, and there's nothing useful she can do with it anyhow. But if I'm missing something, I'd be glad to hear it! I keep worrying they're learning less from the vital military intelligence than they should.If the Shahalesti take the intelligence, Shalosha brings it to the first war council in adventure 3. The book is actually quite extensive and would take a long time to copy. In my game, the heroes copied 5 pages, and Shalosha brought the journal in adventure 3.