Another session gone by.
My players had been acting rather aggressively towards the local halflings, I thought, so I was ready for them to move on to fighting goblins. They had the time and the place for the next meeting between the halflng and goblin smugglers, but wanted to set a trap for the goblins.
I decided to run this as an impromptu skill challenge, because I hadn’t prepped anything in particular for it. They interrogated the captured halfling underboss, Big Sid, and got the details of the contact arrangement. They scouted the area, and found a small sea cave in behind a pile of brush to hide in. And they cooperated to bury the dwarf fighter in gravel so he could spring up behind the goblins.
So when the goblins sent one of their sharpshooters in stealthily ahead of the main force to set up a sniper perch, the players started whining at me. “What are you doing? No fair playing the monsters smart!”
I swarmed them with goblins. Eleven goblins against six PCs in the first fight, seventeen goblins against six PCs in the second fight. Of course, most of the goblins were minions*, but there were some tough guys hidden in there, too. Once the goblins started using their goblin tactics ability to shift after someone misses them, the PCs started getting a real hate on for the goblins, as well. Not as much as for halflings, but we’re getting there, and I’ve got a few more goblin fights lined up.
The fight on the beach went well, with everything going the PCs’ way for pretty much the entire fight. Right up to the end, when one of the goblin warriors decided to bugger off and warn people. That ended with a night-time chase through the rocky shore area, with the goblin running hell-bent for leather and the eladrin ranger chasing him with his bow. He managed to drop the goblin just before it made it out of range**.
After that, they backtracked the goblins’ trail to a ruin where one of the ancient Bael Turath floating watchtowers had crashed to earth, gouging a long rip into the ground. At the end of this rip, a doorway led into the mostly-intact tower.
Of course, the goblins had sentries. A couple of sharpshooters up on the canyon walls, a couple of warriors hidden in foxholes, a hexer just in side the doorway, and a whole mess of cutters to muddy things up. Combined, they trapped the PCs in a killing ground, and proceeded to go to work.
This was a tougher fight, despite the ease with which they put down the minions in large groups with area effect abilities. The hexer managed to keep the dwarf fighter immobile for much of the fight using stinging curse, and the snipers on the high ground were far enough away that the swordmage’s lightning lure couldn’t drag them to their deaths. The warriors hit the party from behind, and kept the pressure on the less-melee oriented folks.
Still, the PCs triumphed – mostly. One of the sharpshooters got away, so now the whole lair is on alert.
We didn’t get a whole lot done in this session. Certainly, less than I expected. This is a combination of a few things:
- We got a late start. We didn’t really get rolling until just about an hour after nominal start time.
- Several people were somewhat distracted by stuff going on in real life.
- We broke to make a food run about an hour after we started to play.
- We were down two players, which meant two folks were running double characters.
None of these things are neccessarily bad things. I know there are folks out there who hate having game sessions with such a lack of focus and intrusions and distractions. Sometimes, it gets to me, too.
But this game is played for fun. Part of the fun is the socializing, the tangents and digressions, and the opportunity to make Erik laugh so hard that blood comes out his ears. Jokes and banter flies fast and furious in the game, much of it out of character and only peripherally related to the current topic, never mind related to the game itself.
At the end of the night, if people go home smiling, the game is a success, whether we got through six encounters or none.
So, it wasn’t a full game, it wasn’t a focused game, and it didn’t progress the plot very much. But we all had a good time.
*Have I mentioned how much I love minions? Fighting against overwhelming numbers is so heroic!
**This was easy to run pretty fast and loose, thanks to simplified movement and range in 4E. One more round, and the goblin would have been beyond the long range of the bow.