Kain Darkwind's Savage Tide
Kain (Sep 16, 2013)
My feedback is that I need to better prep descriptions utilizing arcane sight and such. In addition, I need people to restate their status at the beginning of combats, so I know who is seeing invisible, seeing magic, true seeing, is actually invisible, is incorporeal, etc.
Aluroon (Sep 17, 2013)
I thought this session went a lot faster than the previous ones, in terms of rounds accomplished – likely because the number of attackers was dramatically reduced. Firestorm was a big help in that regard, clearing out a lot of the degenerates and ‘wizards’ that were clogging up the encounter.
Assassins are tough tedious bastards. Those layers of defense aren’t easily defeated, and there’s almost at catch 22 in that dropping their offensive capabilities (greater invisibility) increases the effectiveness of their defense (mirror image). Dropping down on the clerics was a really dirty, nasty move. Just a reminder Rath – if you hit the assassin on Mari with a dispel I can probably kill him off with her before he does any more damage. Alternatively, if she can take care of him we can work on T’sal. I trust Einar can remove the guy on Gwen – though I’ve been wrong before.
While there were likely other ways to approach this combat, I don’t know that any would have gone any more quickly than this one, especially since a sneaky plan would have eventually run into the dispel wall. Nice job Rath btw, with taking it out. I’d actually say that’s probably the most influential aspect of surge – on things that are otherwise very difficult to get bonuses to like caster level checks.
The surprise giant snake → giant environmental effect was unpleasant. While I didn’t mind the damage I do feel like the save each round when only a 1 fails is an example of another kind of thing that can bog combat down.
In terms of resources I’m getting relatively low. Hopefully Drac really is just a room away. I’m out of dispel’s entirely and getting low on everything else as well. As noted before, I’ve got so many completely useless spells for this adventure. I do still have one use of Kat’s robe left, a pair of disintegrates, some walls, and force missiles. Nothing in terms of AoE’s though. Most of my buffs are already out.
On the whole while I’ve enjoyed this arc of the game I’m excited to move towards a final confrontation with Drac and wrapping it up. I understand we’ll jump into the LLG, but hopefully not before we get a little bit of closure.
WarDragon’s Feedback for 9/15/13
Faster paced session than last time, which is always good. I was more excited about it this time, though I was still mainly doing double moves with Heinrick. It’s a bit of a challenge picking up a whole new character to run on the fly, and I hope I’ve been making Alyssa at least somewhat useful.
The Hollow Serpent and rising tide of lesser undead snake swarms it left behind were… pretty darn scary, honestly. It’s downright creepy to picture our characters literally wading through a sea of snakes. Serves as a good hourglass, like Rath said, but it seems like every time we make progress in this battle, there’s a new twist to make it even more desperate than it already was. It’s exciting, don’t get me wrong, but the next nasty surprise might start to verge on the ridiculous. :P If these things don’t dissolve when we’re done, I don’t even want to think about what it’s gonna take to get them cleaned up.
Assassins continue to be pains in the arse. About the one grappling Mari… don’t worry too much about him, Rath. If she’s still grappled on Alyssa’s turn, I’ll hit her with Freedom of Movement, and in the unlikely event she’s still in trouble on Heinrick’s turn, he’ll try to help her out too (track record against these guys notwithstanding). So, I don’t think she’s in too terribly much real danger, just another annoyance. Naturally though, the dispel Roon mentioned would make it easier for Heinrick to kill him, too.
I don’t consider Adoan overpowered. Not sure where that discussion came from?
Hosting Maptool shouldn’t be a problem.
Aluroon (September 28th)
I rather enjoyed this session, though it seemed like some player times took a long time. I understand it when you’re waiting on GM feedback (and understand even more from the GM in a complex fight like this) but less so when your turn rolls around after an hour and you have to type everything up from scratch, or when you start soliciting feedback once your turn starts instead of before.
The natural 20 on the knowledge check was a high point for me – it’s rare that those kinds of rolls for me have turned out particularly well, so getting some extra benefits from it was a delightful plus. Getting some info on the signs, but also the tactical situation as a whole was a plus. Thanks for the direction – it wasn’t something I would have ever attempted otherwise.
Alyssa’s little fit at the end was nothing I’d expected. Wonder if it’s the Crown, Fflam, or herself? Time will tell I suppose. Definitely likely to add to the difficulty here though. Hopefully we can save her from the situation though.
I do stick with my initial suggestion – keep rolling big turn affecting saves in mass at the top of the round – mostly to speed up play. That way I can have my turn typed up, instead of having to swap it out at the last minute when I fail (or succeed).
WarDragon’s Feedback for 9/28/13
Well, that’s one round down with no PC deaths! :P
Seriously, I do feel like we made progress this session, if only in the sense of “two steps forward, one step back.” Kat continues to shine, arguably the MVPC of this stage of the fight for the knowledge check alone.
As Einar said, so many saving throws! Mine were especially horrible that night, what was up with all those natural 1s? In hindsight, probably should have just waited for Alyssa’s next turn to put the Jade Crown on the pedestal, instead of trying to have someone else snatch it from her… my gut says it’s the crown itself corrupting her and Fflam both, though possible that it’s the sword going nuts. Or that Alyssa’s been harboring secret resentment of Heinrick all this time, I suppose. No idea how to snap her out of it beyond another try at diplomacy… could just be a setup for a dramatic death scene if she botches one more save.
Actually, strike that no idea. Lavinia does have the Disarm feat chain, and it’s not inconceivable that someone else could help her get up there with enough actions left to use it. She’s the best choice for talking sense into Alyssa too, for that matter.
Coriat’s Feedback for 9/28
In addition to my prior feedback,
Speaking of saving throws – Kain, I have feedbacked about saves and the prospect of clarifying what is being rolled against IC, and as a related thing, would it be possible also to clarify what is being rolled against mechanically? i.e., when you call for a save, to call for it as “save vs X,” where X is whatever tag may be appropriate? E.g. “Heinrick, roll Fort save vs poison” or “Rath, will save vs fear” or “Einar, Will save vs compulsion.”
There are quite a few conditional bonuses against various things floating around, and I think this might be a better way to do it than it is currently, which I think leads to either slowness as bonuses are asked about/corrected for afterwards, or (not infrequently) just missing the bonus altogether.
This way it could be entirely our fault whenever a saving throw bonus does not get applied, too. ;)
WarDragon’s Feedback for 10/5/13
A puzzle battle, as Aluroon says, is exactly the right word for it. It was surprisingly… binary. When we figured out how to make use of the Shadow Pearl and Jade Crown, and put that plan into action, we had it pretty much in the bag. If we hadn’t gotten it right at any step, we’d have been toast. Not to say that all the buffs weren’t useful, we probably wouldn’t have lived long enough to enact the plan if we hadn’t had them.
On that same note, I was a bit surprised at how personally… ineffective? Passive? Not sure what the right word is… how whatever the villains were in their actions. G’Gal literally accomplished nothing, and Drac himself did only slightly more than that without the Yellow Signs backing him up. Again, our crapton of buffs probably helped there, but still a bit of a surprise.
On the divisive subject of loot… while I was kind of expecting the final boss to be better equipped than that, when you add up everything from the whole adventure, I can’t really say I’m disappointed with how it comes out, for my own part. While losing my trophy from Ulioth and three points of chest-slot saving throws hurt, I will come out with more liquid combat wealth than I went in with, and some ideas of how to spend it.
Definitely agree that it was appropriate that Rath was the one to kill Drac. He was sort of a whole-party villain, but more Rath’s nemesis than anything. Kinda surprised (again) that he just up and committed suicide-by-PC. It makes sense in retrospect, but definitely did not see it coming ahead of time. That said, your interactions there were yet another example of why I will never come close to understanding the way your mind works, Vael. Aluroon’s not the only one who was put off by your continued attempts at getting him to come around and see the light… in a way, it felt almost hypocritical, since Rath is the pary member farthest from Good himself, and doesn’t really give a crap about morality most of the time. I didn’t realistically see it ending any other way than it did, and I’m pretty glad about that. It looks like a surrendered Sea Lord might have caused almost as much party conflict as legal wrangling; if I remember right, there’s not even any provision for him to abdicate, he rules the city with total power until he’s dead. If we’d taken him prisoner, I’d have been in favor of summary execution regardless. So yeah, glad it didn’t come up as an issue.
Did we really need any more proof that Einar’s a badass? Seriously, leave some demigods for everybody else to kill. :P
On that note… honestly, I wasn’t real satisfied with my contributions up to that point. I came dangerously close to disgruntled a time or two early on, in fact. Out of all those dozens and dozens of mooks, over a dozen Elite Mooks, and eight or nine named enemies, I think my total kill count stands at one (an important one, true!). That is… a very strange feeling for me when playing Heinrick. I don’t mean to sound like a glory hound, but for a while there, I was convinced the fight’s outcome would not have been changed if I were entirely absent from it. Seemed like every time I had a chance to do something cool (chop up an assassin, knock an assassin into the walls’o’doom, gallantly rescue Lavinia from the rising tide of snakes, fight a named villain) something came up to make it not happen. I did try some new things in the realm of combat maneuvers in this fight, but aside from the one disarm check on Melkior, they didn’t really seem to pan out very well. I don’t want to steal the entire spotlight, but I also don’t enjoy feeling like deadweight, a spectator to the fight, or just a reserve of extra hp for the enemies to get through before fighting the people who can actually do stuff.
Ugh, sorry if that sounded too whiny. Time to end on a positive note.
You all get three guesses what the highlight of the session was for me, and the first two don’t count. :D That wasn’t quite how I pictured the proposal going, but it turned out to be awesome, Kain, result of a natural 1 or no (I had in mind either a solemn moment alone after we’d won the victory, or a spontaneous thrill-of-the-moment thing while fighting as back-to-back Battle Couple). My heart was pounding, I was terrified I’d screwed up catastrophically, and I had a smile a mile wide when she said yes. Also, I was kind of amused that Drac and the other players (or at least Aluroon) seemed equally dumbfounded by it. I got the feeling Drac was watching something so utterly foreign to him that he just couldn’t process it, but that may not have been what was actually going through his head. I like to think it contributed in some small way to the subdued sort of Villainous Breakdown that led to letting Rath kill him, and is certainly a big part of my overall satisfaction with the battle as a whole.
And overall, I was satisfied with it. Not just the death of Drac, but the whole thing had a very cinematic feel to it. You could definitely tell it was the climax of a tremendous amount of blood, sweat, and tears on both sides. Others have mentioned the telepathic snippets to set the tone, and they did that very well. Had me on the edge of my seat, they were very reminiscent of the end of Return of the Jedi (my favorite of the Star Wars movies, and one of my top five faves of all time). The ending montage was, as par for chapter epilogues in this game MAG. NI. FI. CENT. Major props for that, Kain. Can’t wait to follow up on some of it… after seeing what happens in Talingarde and the Isle, of course.
Feedback for Oct 11, 2015
The Olman villages were moving at closer to the clip I favor for downtime tasks. If a plot thread can be resolved in a session, that’s great. Significant progress is a good runner up. Playing things out in line-for-line dialogue in this game is often rich, but [i]always[/i] slow, and I generally favor a more… judicious use of it. I think that too often we play out minor scenes line for line. There are a lot of reasons we’ve been slow in pace for the last several years, but that seems like a readily addressable one. I really like using snapshots of dialogue instead, when I can.
I was generally pleased with how the visits went, even Dawa (even if a chief feels like being stubborn, he rules by the consent of the ruled! :-) ). The arrogance of the Tanaroans was certainly a universal theme though. I wonder if that will make for some awkward conversations upon returning.
So we have a tentative current schedule of Wicked 2/mo on Friday at 8 (next on the 23rd?) and STAP 4/mo on Sunday. There was some discussion of holding STAP at 5-10, or at least a little later than 2-7. Thoughts from those who missed said discussion? (Glab, Kain).
Wealth. Hm. Since this has become the topic of the hour, I will write down my thoughts. I will say that I fall on neither side, nor do I fall in between Roon and Kain’s views. I would say that rather than being between I tend to agree fairly solidly with Kain on some points, and fairly solidly with Roon on others, which overall puts me in a third area.
Combat wealth, in the form of coin. It is buildable, but amassing it is an extremely slow process. The money that Einar got drunk and blew the other day has been nearly four OOC years in the making, and that’s four years of [i]zero[/i] big-ticket purchases and only one big-ticket claim (and even that smaller than the other pcs’). It takes a fairly rigid regime of denying oneself loot items and large purchases to amass combat coin.
Cash poor, item rich, is hardly the same thing as poor, but it is an aspect of this game.
I do not agree that our PCs wealth makes our PCs more effective than a PC with vanilla wealth could be. Shamash has been tearing it right up, and he has no inherent bonuses and operates almost entirely on 15th level starting wealth (and not even optimally spent starting wealth, either, since I paid combat wealth for useless crap like [i]protection from spells[/i] just so I could have it). He actually makes the most frequent use of his additional wealth, the spear, when messing around in melee for kicks rather than when playing optimally.
The older PCs have more wealth by the numbers, but tends to have a lot of inefficient wealth. The 25c on the dollar return on selling items incentivizes keeping costly, inefficient items, and by and large that is what happens. You don’t see a lot of vanilla Pathfinder PCs running around with six different magic melee weapons, it would likely be viewed as horribly wasteful.
So while our PCs do have high power, I don’t see extra magic items as a major driver of that power.
So I can’t say I agree with Kain there. Although I will make one major exception for Heinrick’s arm.
The point about alternate means besides coin to bargain with is well taken, and one I agree with (and just used this past week, in fact, it doesn’t always have to arise from a DM prompt to attempt such).
The point about alternate boosts besides simple wealth is also well taken, and very relevant. In fact, I would say that while our PCs do not hold a very distinct advantage over a well-shopped vanilla character in wealth, they hold a very significant one in boons, custom feats or powers, and so on.
While I cannot view it currently, I believe I was getting more at the idea that the stuff I have provided has offset the things I have not. Also, although Shamash might be combat effective, he also does not have the same breadth of influence and connections that the older PCs possess, and my suspicion is that were I to place that mechanical character in the hands of a less proactive player, he would not be as effective either. In either his ability to affect the plot or outcome of a battle.
All in all though, I doubt even Shamash would be as devestatingly effective were he to suck up a 15 point buy, normal +1 per 4 level ability score bonus, no Archmage feat, and spend his wealth on enhancement items, a trade off that has made his particular contributions very valuable and effective.
Hopefully the Olman villages demonstrated my willingness to engage in rapid progression. I tend to match what you guys bring. If you bring a line by line dialog, that’s what you tend to get, if you bring a speedy one roll, several hours expository, that’s what I provide. Especially with the minor, player directed goals, involving unnamed or minor NPCs, this is highly preferable.