Dateline – Storm Point

Finally got together for another Storm Point session this past Sunday.

We’d left the previous session with everyone somewhat beat up from the wraiths, and they spent the first part of the session trying to decide if they should try and find a place inside the villa to hole up for an extended rest, or to retreat and find someplace in the forest to camp for an extended rest. No one thought they should push on, which was interesting to me – obviously, they felt that they’d taken some serious hurt. Listening to them discuss it, it seemed to me that the issue was less about how injured they were, and more about the fact that they had pretty much all used up their daily powers*.

If they had retreated and hidden in the forest, I was planning to let them use one of the skill checks mentioned in previous reports to find a concealed camp site. However, upon return, the forces in the villa would have been reinforced.

And there was no way in hell I was going to let them find a safe spot inside the villa to rest.

They decided on a fairly subtle plan*: rather than go wandering the halls, looking for someplace to rest, they pried loose a couple of planks in the ceiling and climbed up into the room above, which was an abandoned indoor garden, with dead plants in pots and planters everywhere. It was sparsely visited, judging by the signs on the floor, and the door was swollen and stuck, but it showed some signs of being opened in the not too distant past.

This is where they decided to camp.

I figured that the shadar-kai and their minions were searching the building after the noise of the battle, so I rolled a d6 to see when they would happen on this room, multiplying the result by 30 minutes. So, an hour and a half into the rest, an ogre kicked down the door.

The fight did not go the way I expected.

See, I wanted to simulate hordes of humanoids, backed by a pair of shadar-kai. My plan was to have a base bunch of monsters* attack and, every time a minion was slain, another would join the fight the next round. This replenishment would stop once the two shadar-kai were killed.

So, what went wrong? Well, one thing was that I let the players level up between the last game and this one. That let the fighter take the power rain of steel, which is one of the better mook erasers in the game. In general, though, the minions just weren’t enough of a threat to the party. They didn’t hit often enough, or do enough damage when they hit, to really be much of a factor in the combat, especially after the swordmage’s opening round of multiple area of effect attacks.

Also, I  made a mistake in trying to get the shadar-kai into the fight. They shadow jaunted into the room, past the dwarf fighter corking the door, to attack from behind. This left them the main focus of all the other characters in the room, and they got spanked in about three rounds.

In that time, I got another wave of pretty much every group of minions – and two waves of the ogre – and had the orcs bash holes through the lath and plaster walls to let the rest of the minions into the room. It was too little, too late, though, and the fight just wasn’t as tough as I’d planned it to be. Something I’m going to have to keep in mind with using minions in the future*.

Anyway.

Afterwards, they smashed the altar to Vecna in the main court, cleaned off the blood that had been used to mark the place with his holy symbol, and searched the villa. They found a teleportation circle, whose symbols they have noted down, and a chest of money and magic items sent by Tolvas Shadowborn to aid in an assault against Storm Point.

Hopefully, they’ll be able to do something about that.

*This is something I’ve noticed more and more in 4E. Resource managment is spread among all the characters, where in previous editions it was primarily the concern of spellcasters. Now, characters can keep on going if they’ve used up their big daily powers, but they start to try and assess what sorts of challenges lie ahead, and figure out if they need to refresh that particular resource. Healing surges are almost a secondary concern, at least in the groups I’ve run. Back

*At least, by their standards. Back

*A shadar-kai witch, a shadar-kai warrior, eight goblin cutters, eight hobgoblin grunts, five orc drudges, and an ogre thug – 1,524 xp; a level 6 encounter for 6 characters. Back

*WotC has noticed that the minions just weren’t as much of a viable threat as they might have planned. The minions in the MM2 now have roles and a little more in the way of effective powers. Back

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