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pogre's Trailblazer Campaign Notes & Questions

cauldron

Villager
pogre said:
My main problem is I keep forgetting about Combat Reactions and maneuvers for some of the monsters.
I do remember a conversation Wulf and I had during development about this very thing. For mooks and normal encounters, don't worry too much about them. You can also just use them for important NPCs, elites, and solos only.

I do have a more detailed design note for the monster book as well.
I have the same problem with the Combat Reactions for my poor monsters... Now, I just try to think about them when I have several 'organized' monsters working together like a military squad or something, like a group of Hobgobelins helping each others killing their ennemies.
It make them more efficient, like it should be for a trained unit.

I definitively love the Combat Reactions, I'm very interested by your design note.
 

pogre

Adventurer
I definitively love the Combat Reactions, I'm very interested by your design note.
Ditto.

I'm doing better with my monsters.

I do sometimes debate whether a monster would bother to worry about flank and such, but then I watched a video a friend had taken last week. He's a deer hunter who shoots videos of deer hunts - believe it or not their is a whole industry for these things. Anyway, he filmed some coyotes taking down a sick deer earlier this season. I know one thing for sure - coyotes are all about 5' steps to gain flanking!;)
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
I definitively love the Combat Reactions, I'm very interested by your design note.
Sounds like a good holiday mini-preview!

Here's what I have written in the entry definition chapter:

Design Note – Some Thoughts on Combat Reactions
Every creature’s stat block includes a Combat Reaction entry. That doesn’t mean you have to use them.

In fact, for simplicity, it’s probably best to simply ignore a creature’s combat reactions for less important encounters or encounters with a lot of creatures. Or, as a quick rule of thumb, simply have the creature dodge the first attack every round or assume it always make attacks of opportunity when it can.

That said, when running important encounters, especially with Elite or Solo creatures, you should definitely make sure you are making full use of a creature’s combat reactions. Since the PCs have combat reactions themselves (especially Aid Another) and Action Points, combat reactions are a way to increase the survivability of important NPCs and create more memorable battles.

Combat reactions also force the players to work together and coordinate their attacks, especially when presented with a creature that has a lot of combat reactions and high Dodge and Block values.
It's more helpful advice rather than a design note per se but it does give some insight into our (me and Wulf) overall philosophy to running the game. Simply put, everything you choose to use in the game (or not) should have the sole goal or challenging the players and making the game fun.
 

pogre

Adventurer
I like the "design" note. Good common sense advice.

Here's something I use in my campaigns my players enjoy quite a bit. Thought some fellow TBers might like it too:

Instead of giving a set number of charges for a wand or staff I give them a die worth. A 50 charge wand starts with a d20. Every time a PC uses the wand it degrades on a roll of 1. It goes down 1 die type -
D20 -> D12 -> D10->D8->tapped out.

Numbers work out to about 50 charges most of the time, but it is a fun little random element that makes wand use a bit more unpredictable.

I stole the idea from a forum post years ago. I cannot remember who came up with it, but we have used it ever since.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
Instead of giving a set number of charges for a wand or staff I give them a die worth. A 50 charge wand starts with a d20. Every time a PC uses the wand it degrades on a roll of 1. It goes down 1 die type -
D20 -> D12 -> D10->D8->tapped out.
That is fantastic. I love stuff like this. I would also use this for ammo as well. Anything that cuts down on annoying bookkeeping is a plus for me.
 

pogre

Adventurer
Getting really busy preparing for indoor track, which starts tomorrow. I'm basically just cranking out adventures at this point. I need to update the story hour. Perhaps I will get to it this week.

Tonight the half-orc barbarian got knocked across the room by a vrock. The druid summoned a huge croc that held the demon down with its massive bite (grapple) and the rogue proceeded to jump on its back and stab it through the throat. A glorious victory and much cheering all around!
 

pogre

Adventurer
I forgot to mention: the barbarian drilled a Retriever for 98 points of damage with one attack! Not unbelievable for a 9th level PC, but impressive nonetheless.
 

pogre

Adventurer
I finally updated the story hour.

Episode 11

I jumped up to our last adventure in the story hour. I reserved space for the other episodes if I ever get them done.

Of interest perhaps to TB folks: The entire massive update to the story hour was played in around 5 hours. A dozen encounters in around five hours. Keep in mind that includes setting up terrain, miniatures, socializing, bathroom breaks, etc.

The reason I bring this up is because on the big forum there was a thread discussing how much you get done in one four hour session.
What should you be able to accomplish in four hours?

What was shocking to me is how many folks said one or two combats and a couple of roleplay encounters. What? My group must be on superspeed! Even in 4th edition we got through more than that.

I wonder if our campaign is really that unusual in this regard?
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
The reason I bring this up is because on the big forum there was a thread discussing how much you get done in one four hour session.
What should you be able to accomplish in four hours?

What was shocking to me is how many folks said one or two combats and a couple of roleplay encounters. What? My group must be on superspeed! Even in 4th edition we got through more than that.

I wonder if our campaign is really that unusual in this regard?
I guess I'm in the slow camp-- one or two encounters in 4 hours is about my pace, too.

How many players do you have, how many of them are drinking, and how much :):):):):):):):)ting is going on? :)
 

pogre

Adventurer
I guess I'm in the slow camp-- one or two encounters in 4 hours is about my pace, too.

How many players do you have, how many of them are drinking, and how much :):):):):):):):)ting is going on? :)
Players: 5
Drinking: nada
BSing: prior and after session.

I don't feel like I am driving the pace at all.

Now, I know you love huge epic combats and those would slow us down a bit too. My group loves to rampage through some encounters, so not all of my encounters are big. I would say we had three BIG encounters with at least twice as many enemies as PCs last session.

We can get through a five or six round combat in 10-15 minutes no problem. For us, as levels go up, combats rarely last that long - kill or be killed in the first couple of rounds seems to be the rule. There is so much damage flying around somebody is going down in a heap of broken bones, rended flesh, and blood.

I would say you are actually in the average camp - your rate is much closer to what others shared in that thread.

Roleplaying encounters tend to slow us down a lot more than even big combat encounters.
 
I don't have Trailblazer, but I have been using action points for a few years now. They do tweak combat a bit more in the player's favor, but that is OK in my book. So long as everybody is having fun and feeling challenged the important parts of the game are covered.
[MENTION=13098]BSF[/MENTION] The pdf is five bucks.

If you have any interest in 3E, or seeing how it is done right, buy the pdf. Even if you never play it is worth the cost just to read.
 

pogre

Adventurer
Barbarian laid down 300 hit points of damage with back-to-back crits tonight!

Somewhere there is a great crooked grin on the Crippler's face!
 

pogre

Adventurer
We're still playing - I just have been insanely busy with track and pre-season football. Had a great end fight with a nasty Dark Dwarf, Merelith, and two Elder fire elementals tonight. Teamwork was the key to the PCs' victory. Still enjoying the game. Group hit 16th level tonight.
 

joela

Villager
We're still playing - I just have been insanely busy with track and pre-season football. Had a great end fight with a nasty Dark Dwarf, Merelith, and two Elder fire elementals tonight. Teamwork was the key to the PCs' victory. Still enjoying the game. Group hit 16th level tonight.
Coolio. Did you use the Solo and Elite rules?
 

pogre

Adventurer
Finished the campaign arc last week. Players are not quite ready to stop.

Problem is, I'm a little tapped out for ideas. I'm struggling with putting together a fresh story arc for a group of high level PCs. I told them I would run at least a few more adventures, but I'm really struggling.

Fortunately, there is no real time pressure because I warned them it would take me a while to come up with something.

Suggestions are MORE than welcome!
 

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