The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
Results 1 to 25 of 25
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    DCMA
    Gender
    Male

    Default [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    So, for anybody who cares, I DM'd my first real 4e session on Friday. I totally killed half the party. Much of this is attributed to being a level appropriate encounter, but the party is only a 4-man group, with us ditching the extra DMpc/npc cleric in favor of game knowledge and tactics.

    So, I'm going to make a new DMpc at one level lower to suppliment some healing, but not really be a 'level appropriate party member'.

    The party is 5th level, so I'm going to make a 4th level Half-Elf Paladin/multi-Sorcerer with a Raven Familiar. Focusing on healing and support with charisma, secondary constitution and intelligence (which the party will need).

    I'm temporarily lacking a few books, so, I can't look up everything (like the actual stats of the raven familiar), but I'm really terrible at picking good dilettante powers. Help?

    (Edit: Yes, I did rip the idea from another thread on the forum.)
    Last edited by Burley; 2009-06-10 at 07:52 AM.
    Check out a bunch of stuff I wrote for my campaign world of Oz.

    Spoiler
    Show
    I am the Burley, formerly known as Burley Warlock. I got my name changed. Please remember me...

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    How will your attack bonuses be? Come to think of it, what's your main stat? Wis or Cha? When you say 'secondary Con and Int', how secondary is secondary?
    ...I'm just checking to see what the main stat for the attack should be.
    Last edited by Gawaeyn; 2009-06-10 at 07:55 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    DCMA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Well, I said that Charisma is the focus. I guess, Con would be secondary and Intelligence, tertiary. (I'm just alway afraid I'm gonna spell "tertiary" wrong, so I avoid it.)
    Lemme just pull some stats up, real quick...

    After racial mods, and the 4th level bump:
    Str:10
    Con:19
    Dex: 10
    Int:12
    Wis:10
    Cha:19
    (Subject to change upon better judgement)
    Feats will probably be the Multi-class, the Familiar and I guess Healing Hands.
    Check out a bunch of stuff I wrote for my campaign world of Oz.

    Spoiler
    Show
    I am the Burley, formerly known as Burley Warlock. I got my name changed. Please remember me...

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Hal's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Baltimore
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    If all you're doing is supplementing, I think Paladin might be a bad choice. One level lower than the party level isn't devastating, so he'll still be fairly effective in combat. Unless the party is missing a Defender, I might suggest a Cleric. Much less "intrusive" in combat, and you'll have more latitude in supplementing the healing.

    Edit: Okay, I'm very confused. A Paladin with 10 Str will do very little to change combat (besides marking), but 10 Wis? Exactly how is he going to be supplementing the healing with only one use of LoH per day?
    Last edited by Hal; 2009-06-10 at 08:08 AM. Reason: Updated thread while writing
    Halbert's Cubicle - Wherein I write about gaming and . . . you know . . . stuff.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    DCMA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    This is why I posted here before offering the character to my group. I'm absolutely terrible with support builds. I'm the striker. Always the striker. I'm good at getting damage done and did and that's it!

    Help! The paladin was just for a cool idea. I can switch it to cleric, no problem.
    The party has a half-elf bard (played by a competent player who made a very effective character) and two fighters (one being a battlerager) and a rogue.
    Maybe instead of a palading/sorcerer, I should do a cleric/wizard? Deva? I still want very much to have specific things in the character:
    Must worship Ioun (part of the hook to have him join the party)
    Must get a Raven Familiar (because the character is mute, and will speak through the Raven when absolutely necessary).

    I do plan on using whatever this PC ends up being when the next DM picks up rotation, so I do need a viable character, but I need it to be out of the group's social encounters and decision making.
    Check out a bunch of stuff I wrote for my campaign world of Oz.

    Spoiler
    Show
    I am the Burley, formerly known as Burley Warlock. I got my name changed. Please remember me...

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    The sunny South
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Paladin would be fine with
    STR 10
    CON 16 (with +2 race and +1 lvl)
    DEX 11
    INT 8
    WIS 16
    CHA 19 (with +2 race and +1 lvl)

    gives him 3 heals a day, thats not too shabby... and you won't be stepping on the bards toes.
    Dilettante powers Burning Spray (sorc) or War Song Strike (bard) would do fine, or the ever popular eyebite (warlock) of course.

    Make sure he gets Melee training Charisma, plate and shield and he'll do fine.
    Whats the rational behind making him lower level?
    Last edited by Charity; 2009-06-10 at 08:48 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lilly View Post
    I am now going to begin blaming everything that goes wrong on Charity. Just for gits and shiggles. And not even just things on the forums. Summer! Charity!

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Totally Guy's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    England
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    I remember there was the Eye-Bite on your Divine Challenge trick. But that's probably not what you're trying to accomplish with thisd character.

    High wisdom is needed for a Paladin's lay on hands power.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Hal's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Baltimore
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Quote Originally Posted by Burley Warlock View Post
    This is why I posted here before offering the character to my group. I'm absolutely terrible with support builds. I'm the striker. Always the striker. I'm good at getting damage done and did and that's it!

    Help! The paladin was just for a cool idea. I can switch it to cleric, no problem.
    The party has a half-elf bard (played by a competent player who made a very effective character) and two fighters (one being a battlerager) and a rogue.
    Maybe instead of a palading/sorcerer, I should do a cleric/wizard? Deva? I still want very much to have specific things in the character:
    Must worship Ioun (part of the hook to have him join the party)
    Must get a Raven Familiar (because the character is mute, and will speak through the Raven when absolutely necessary).

    I do plan on using whatever this PC ends up being when the next DM picks up rotation, so I do need a viable character, but I need it to be out of the group's social encounters and decision making.
    If you'll be playing this guy at some point, Strength 10 is a big, big no-no. It's the Paladin's primary stat, so abandoning it would make you much less effective when the time comes to pick him up.

    How do you feel about Warlords? Their healing isn't necessarily huge (and can be limited simply to their Inspiring Word, depending on power selection), although you're getting away from the divine aspect of the character, you can still multiclass effectively with another class. Since Warlords can benefit from a high Int or a high Cha (depending on the build you use), you can really multiclass Sorc or Wizard, your choice.
    Halbert's Cubicle - Wherein I write about gaming and . . . you know . . . stuff.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Thajocoth's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Austin TX
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    I had a similar issue recently. For a game I'm running, I had a problem where no one wanted to play a leader role character, so I made a Doppleganger Bard and have multiclassed them into each other leader class... But that's only because it's such a necessary role that no one wanted to play.

    -----

    - People who're saying Paladins require Str don't seem to realize that you can completely take powers that rely only on Cha. Str is not strictly necessary.

    - Getting a familiar requires that you're an arcane class. (You could houserule, obviously, but by the core rules it requires an arcane class.)

    - That party needs ranged more than anything, especially something that will hit NADs. (Non-AC Defenses.) It also lacks anything that deals a good burst or blast which is almost necessary when there's lots of minions.

    My recommendation? Wizard. They're arcane (for the familiar). They're ranged. They target NADs. They have lots of bursts/blasts. It's exactly what the party lacks. They're also a ritual caster, which is something else the party lacks. You get a few free rituals as a wizard. A wizard worshiping Ioun makes an incredible amount of sense too. Wizards seek knowledge... Ioun is the god of knowledge...

    As for race... Anything with a bonus to Int is excellent. Your class feature will probably determine your secondary stat. If you were going for truly optimal (probably not necessary): It depends what type of wizard you are. For an Orb of Imposition Wizard, Deva is a great choice. For Staff of Defense or Tome of Binding, Githyanki is optimal. For Wand of Accuracy, Eladrin & Shadar-Kai are both good choices. For Orb of Deception, Tiefling, Gnome & Doppelganger are all good. For Tome of Readiness, I'd say Human for the versatility.
    Last edited by Thajocoth; 2009-06-10 at 10:40 AM.
    Avatar by me. It's Incendius Darkscale, a Good Dragonborn Dragon Sorcerer, Demonskin Adept, Prince of Hell, worshiper of the Platinum Dragon (Bahamut), specializing in Fire and Lightning, wielding a staff in each hand.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    DCMA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Quote Originally Posted by Hal View Post
    How do you feel about Warlords? Their healing isn't necessarily huge (and can be limited simply to their Inspiring Word, depending on power selection), although you're getting away from the divine aspect of the character, you can still multiclass effectively with another class. Since Warlords can benefit from a high Int or a high Cha (depending on the build you use), you can really multiclass Sorc or Wizard, your choice.
    I don't really want to play a warlord because one of the PCs I killed was a Warlord/MC Wizard. I don't want to rub the fact that he has to make a new PC in his face with a copy of his old PC.

    Plus, a warlord's Inspiring Word is definately not something that would translate well through a bird...
    Check out a bunch of stuff I wrote for my campaign world of Oz.

    Spoiler
    Show
    I am the Burley, formerly known as Burley Warlock. I got my name changed. Please remember me...

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Hal's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Baltimore
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Quote Originally Posted by Burley Warlock View Post
    I don't really want to play a warlord because one of the PCs I killed was a Warlord/MC Wizard. I don't want to rub the fact that he has to make a new PC in his face with a copy of his old PC.

    Plus, a warlord's Inspiring Word is definately not something that would translate well through a bird...
    Hm . . . I wonder if there's any rules about combining a Shaman's spirit companion with a familiar. That would certainly be a good synthesis of the concept (from what I understand).

    Otherwise, Cleric/Sorc is probably your best bet. Wizards need Int, and neither Cleric nor Paladin will benefit from a high score. Both benefit from high Wis/Cha, but a Cleric can be viable without Str. A Paladin without Str is going to have big problems picking powers.
    Halbert's Cubicle - Wherein I write about gaming and . . . you know . . . stuff.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGirl

    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Give the PCs a magic item that casts Healing Word twice/encounter, and move on. Then when you want to join the party, you have free choice of character.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecroRebel's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Quote Originally Posted by Hal View Post
    A Paladin without Str is going to have big problems picking powers.
    You keep saying that, but I do not understand why. More than half of the Paladin powers have no reference to Str at all. There are even power levels where there are no Str powers at all (level 9, for instance). Further, my readings indicate that most of the Cha powers are significantly stronger than the Str powers, even with the same value in both stats. As a result, it seems to me that you could build a perfectly effective Heroic-tier Paladin with 8 Str if your DM waives encumbrance.

    Paragon-tier differs somewhat as you want enough Str to choose Heavy Blade Opportunity, but even that can be ignored if you choose Melee Training (Cha) instead.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ocato's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Muncie, Indiana
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    It sounds to me like you could use a Controller. If the bard is competent, then perhaps the problem isn't the lack of healing, it's the inability to regulate the stream of attacks/attackers. With a controller, you could easily allow the players to break an encounter down into "bite sized" chunks of monsters by separating enemies, blocking artillery, slowing the approach of enemies, or just plain knocking them out.

    Then, if you want, you can MC cleric, grab a few controller-y powers they have, and have a back-up heal. I think that such a character would be more rewarding to play without stepping on any toes.
    Being a jerk to people on the internet does not make you cool.

    Avatar by Kalirush

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Myatar_Panwar's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    A Tavern, DUH!
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Honestly I would go for a Cleric/ controller for this.

    The thing about DMPC's is you don't want them to be too overpowering. The PC's are the main focus of the story, don't let him take the spotlight.

    Warlord and Paladin (in my opinion) take up a very assertive role, where they become more prominent members. Clerics are more in the background necessities. A level lower could also work.

    But hey, I could see a paladin build working if you have a fighter or something in the group, he could be his squire or what have you.
    Steam: Foolish Chaos
    Spoiler
    Show
    Freaking awesome TF2 banner by: Pyro

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Another_Poet's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    New Orleans and abroad
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    To make this even less work for yourself, why not give the PCs this package:

    *1 extra healing surge per person
    *Each PC can use 1 healing search as a free action 1/day (in addition to any Powers they have that already grant such healing surge uses)
    *1 extra action point

    Then you don't have to bother with the NPC cleric at all. They get all the benefits without you having to build, run or track an extra character.
    I just published my first novella, Lúnasa Days, a modern fantasy with a subtle, uncertain magic.

    You can grab it on Kindle or paperback.

    Proud to GM two Warhammer Adventures:


    Plays as Ulrich, Student of Law

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Quote Originally Posted by Burley Warlock View Post
    So, for anybody who cares, I DM'd my first real 4e session on Friday. I totally killed half the party. Much of this is attributed to being a level appropriate encounter, but the party is only a 4-man group, with us ditching the extra DMpc/npc cleric in favor of game knowledge and tactics.
    First question: Was it a level-appropriate encounter for a default party, or for a 4-man party? An encounter for a 4-man party should have a lower xp budget...

    (Also, there are a few monsters more powerful than their xp would indicate. Well-known examples include fire beetles and needlefang drake swarms. What did you throw at the party?)

    So, I'm going to make a new DMpc at one level lower to suppliment some healing, but not really be a 'level appropriate party member'.
    Second question: Are you sure healing is what you need? Your "very effective bard" should be able to provide that. One leader is supposedly sufficient even for a 5-man party (thogh mileages vary).

    So... is the healing insufficient because not enough damage is being done to the monsters, meaning they're staying alive longer and making more attacks? If so, perhaps an NPC striker would help. This seems like it might be a possibility, since you have one striker (rogue) and one defender-specializing-in-striking (battlerager fighter). The problem, of course, is that you don't want to overshadow the battlerager...

    Could the problem be that too many monsters are getting to attack, overwhelming the bard's healing powers? Consider a controller to inflict status effects and wipe out some minions.

    I do notice that you have a lack of ranged support. A ranged striker or controller might prove very useful. A fey warlock might be a good bet -- he's a ranged striker with relatively weak (for a striker) damage, but with a lot of control abilities, if he picks the right powers. But he doesn't have enough control to lock down an entire fight and make it boring for the PCs, either.

    As an arcanist, he qualifies for the raven familiar, too.

    However...

    Third question: Are you sure that adding an NPC is the best way to address the problem? Would it be easier (or more palatable for your players) to instead modify the encounters you're throwing at them, say by slightly reducing the number of monsters encountered or the damage they do?
    A Butterfly Dreaming - 4e monks and other roleplaying stuff

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    The sunny South
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Quote Originally Posted by Hal View Post
    If you'll be playing this guy at some point, Strength 10 is a big, big no-no. It's the Paladin's primary stat, so abandoning it would make you much less effective when the time comes to pick him up.
    Not so, especially with the advent of melee training Charisma.
    Heck at level 9 there isn't even a str based power to chose from.
    Check out Litigations excellent guide on the wotc forum.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lilly View Post
    I am now going to begin blaming everything that goes wrong on Charity. Just for gits and shiggles. And not even just things on the forums. Summer! Charity!

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    I'm wondering the same thing as Ninetail: the DMG gives XP budgets for 4-person parties... what did you throw at them? It might be simpler to give them easier encounters and extra healing potions rather than throwing in an NPC. If this was the first game and the party was all 5th level, they may also just not know how to effectively play their characters yet; depending on how experienced they are with RPGs and 4e D&D, that may be something else to take into consideration.

    Of course, if an NPC suits your story, by all means toss him in. In my game I did this by creating my NPC as a monster and applying class templates. Monsters with class templates are a lot less flashy than a full-fledged PC controlled by the DM (and way easier to run- they are a monster with only a few extra powers), so I kind of prefer them for adding NPCs to the party. Also, you could take a lot of liberties with the rules--just giving him a raven familiar and not worrying about taking feats or being an arcane class--and handwave it by saying that he doesn't follow the PC creation rules (if anyone asks). If you treat him like a PC and have to bend the rules your players might want the same treatment.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    first of all, i agree with Martin Harper- give them an item that just give healing, and be done with iti, f you realy need to. no need to add any character, just adjust the encounters to 4 people, preferably with less minions and add elites to compensate for tha lack of a controller and having two defenders.

    as to needing a character for yourself when the other DM steps in, just make one when the time happens.

    if you realy, realy want to add a character (and i realy, realy see no reason why you should unless you want to play as a character as well. more characters=more complication). i do suggest either a subservient warlord (perhaps multiclassed to a wizard) that is perhaps a servent to one of the other characters, or indebted to it? i disagree with warlord being automatically assertive, it's how you play them.

    or you could choose the cleric, with similar roleplay.

    why mute by the way? also, it could be more fun to pantomime what s/he is trying to say rather than have a raven speak for you. i had a player once play mute and do so. sure, at first it was realy odd and confusing, but later on he got realy good at this, and it added HUGELY to his play. not to mention that the entire party started to be more concise and to the point as an inspiration.

    still, i'd suggest just a magic item. a DM has enough to worry about without having to manage an entire extra character.

    hope this helped,
    Kol.
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2009-06-11 at 09:23 AM.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    on another matter alltogether, can you describe the situation and the encounter/s? perhaps we can find why it ended so badly? this seems to me more iportent than the DMPC encounter. a level appropriate encounter (even for 5 people) shouldn't have killed half the party. my player could deal with encounter 2 levels above them with begin seriously wounded, but not close to dead. usually only fast succesion encounters, or encounter +3/+4 encounters killed a party member at my parties, unless there was secret element/ surprise the party realy didn't notice.

    please share in more detail, maybe there is something we can do?
    Kol

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    DCMA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Well, the encounter was:
    1 ettercap webspinner (who ended up escaping)
    1 rage drake
    3 bugbear warriors, one of which was riding the drake

    The encounter is from the Thunderspire Labrynth module's random encounter section. The encounter says the party is ambushed within a small corridor/hallway. I ambushed them in an open field, only using terrain to mask the monster's wherabouts until the attack.
    The person on watch failed their perception miserably. The webnet thing hit the whole party hard, so, they were immobilized (on the ground at the end of an extended rest). After that it was all just great rolls on my part, poor rolls on theirs.
    There were poor tactical choices made, as well. The (late) ranger is ranged, and whenever he was adjacent to a foe, instead of shifting and moving to put a defender between him and the opponent, he would was just drawing two bugbears away from the defenders, to take crappy twin strike shots. Also, he never once declared his Hunter's Quarry. I didn't feel the need to remind him of this, of course. I expected him to know it by now.
    The poor warlord just caught a bad break. Got poisoned and failed saves a lot, including the death saves.
    The webspinner could have done a lot more. I recharged the Web Terrain immediately, but chose not to use it. I could have gotten a few extras in (I pretended to roll the recharge and fail, but actually 'succeeded' a couple times). The Web Net was also not utilized ofter, though it very well should have been.
    Check out a bunch of stuff I wrote for my campaign world of Oz.

    Spoiler
    Show
    I am the Burley, formerly known as Burley Warlock. I got my name changed. Please remember me...

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Yakk's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Quote Originally Posted by Burley Warlock View Post
    Well, the encounter was:
    1 ettercap webspinner (who ended up escaping)
    1 rage drake
    3 bugbear warriors, one of which was riding the drake

    The encounter is from the Thunderspire Labrynth module's random encounter section. The encounter says the party is ambushed within a small corridor/hallway. I ambushed them in an open field, only using terrain to mask the monster's wherabouts until the attack.
    The person on watch failed their perception miserably. The webnet thing hit the whole party hard, so, they were immobilized (on the ground at the end of an extended rest). After that it was all just great rolls on my part, poor rolls on theirs.
    So everyone was giving combat advantage from being prone or something?
    There were poor tactical choices made, as well. The (late) ranger is ranged, and whenever he was adjacent to a foe, instead of shifting and moving to put a defender between him and the opponent, he would was just drawing two bugbears away from the defenders, to take crappy twin strike shots. Also, he never once declared his Hunter's Quarry. I didn't feel the need to remind him of this, of course. I expected him to know it by now.
    And the Ranger didn't know how to Hunter's Quarry. You really should remind him of it at least once in the encounter -- the goal isn't to kill the party. Remind him the first time he slips up. If it persists, remind him after he makes and lands the attack that he should have used HQ. Your goal isn't to kill the party, after all: that is the monster's goal.
    The poor warlord just caught a bad break. Got poisoned and failed saves a lot, including the death saves.
    The webspinner could have done a lot more. I recharged the Web Terrain immediately, but chose not to use it. I could have gotten a few extras in (I pretended to roll the recharge and fail, but actually 'succeeded' a couple times). The Web Net was also not utilized ofter, though it very well should have been.
    So, how was a starting party fighting Thunderspire labyrinth opponents?

    You didn't start them advanced, did you? That would explain the tactical and power problems: 4e starts players off with a limited set of powers and the like for a reason -- so they can learn the powers and the tactics as they gain levels.

    I would argue against adding a DMPC. The DM should have enough to do with running monsters and the like. And if the DMPC ends up actually mattering in combat, then you have already failed your job as DM.

    Adding in 'disposable' temporary NPCs that help the PCs in combat is good: use monster rules for these NPCs, and be willing to let them die, expect them to leave the party at some point, and make sure they don't steal PC thunder.

    As an aside, how did the PCs die? It is pretty standard 4e DM rules that monsters are supposed to mostly ignore downed opponents, unless they are playing jack-in-the-box, because the standing opponents are the more pressing danger.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    DCMA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Okay. More Clarification:
    This whole group had already run through Keep on the Shadowfell, with the same characters. The ranger has had months of reminding about the Hunter's Quarry, and he seems to get a bit... when we remind him.

    We all started at level one, and when Keep on the Shadowfell ended, the DM and I switched places for this module, and we'll switch back for the next.
    They are 5th level in a 4th level module. Yes, the encounter was 5th level, and, Yes, they are a party member short. I realize this. That's why I took out all the terrain advantages I could have had (like climbing and ranged attacks). I even strongly implied that they could go all out with dailies.

    In the Keep on the Shadowfell portion, there were four players and five PCs. The warlord's player and myself alternated playing the (premade) cleric to supplement healing. I offered the party a chance to rebuild the cleric and have the warlord's player play two PCs again. The entire group opted out. They were used to having another healer and made poor decisions based on that.

    Edit: The two PCs both fell under and failed 3 death saves in a row. Also, both were taking ongoing 5 poison, which they both failed to save against as they died. I made them take the ongoing damage, but I didn't give them negative modifiers or anything. Bad luck that the healer went under first.
    Last edited by Burley; 2009-06-11 at 12:14 PM.
    Check out a bunch of stuff I wrote for my campaign world of Oz.

    Spoiler
    Show
    I am the Burley, formerly known as Burley Warlock. I got my name changed. Please remember me...

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: [4e] DM needs Dilettante

    Quote Originally Posted by Burley Warlock View Post
    Well, the encounter was:
    1 ettercap webspinner (who ended up escaping)
    1 rage drake
    3 bugbear warriors, one of which was riding the drake
    Ettercap webspinner - level 5 controller, 200 xp
    Rage drake - level 5 brute, 200 xp
    3 Bugbear warriors - level 5 brutes, 200 xp each

    That's 1000 xp, which makes this a level 6 encounter for 4 PCs according to DMG p. 57. (It would be a level 5 encounter for 5 PCs.) So to start with, you're throwing an over-level encounter at them. Not impossible by any means, but harder than average.

    Standard 5th-level encounter for 4 PCs is 800 xp, which translates into one fewer monster in this case.

    The encounter is from the Thunderspire Labrynth module's random encounter section. The encounter says the party is ambushed within a small corridor/hallway. I ambushed them in an open field, only using terrain to mask the monster's wherabouts until the attack.
    The encounter is an ambush, which makes it harder. It is also in an open area, which makes it harder for this party. (Sound counterintuitive? Maybe, but it's true -- the party's fighters would excel at blocking that narrow corridor, but the open area gives the bad guys more room to maneuver around them. It would also force the bad guys to clump up more for the controller, but this party has none. It does also force the PCs to clump up for the webspinner, but since much of the party has to close to melee anyway, their freedom of movement isn't as big an advantage as it might seem, especially when the webspinner opened with the web from ambush.)

    The person on watch failed their perception miserably. The webnet thing hit the whole party hard, so, they were immobilized (on the ground at the end of an extended rest). After that it was all just great rolls on my part, poor rolls on theirs.
    Well, you can't do much about luck... the ettercap and its allies getting within 50' of the party is phenomenally bad luck, but these things happen.

    But the entire party was sleeping within a 10' radius? That's pretty close quarters. Did they decide that, or did you?

    There were poor tactical choices made, as well.
    This, there's no help for.

    The (late) ranger is ranged,
    Okay, I'm confused. I thought you'd said you had two fighters, a rogue, and a bard. Was one of these a replacement for the ranger? Or was the ranger also present at the encounter (making it 5 PCs in the party)?

    and whenever he was adjacent to a foe, instead of shifting and moving to put a defender between him and the opponent, he would was just drawing two bugbears away from the defenders, to take crappy twin strike shots.
    Maybe he was hoping to grant the fighters their OAs. The bugbears would provoke if they moved after the ranger, and if they shifted, the fighters would get melee basic attacks from Combat Challenge (assuming the bugbears were marked). If the fighters were marking the targets, then they also have a penalty to hit the ranger, so this is actually not such a bad strategy once the fighters are engaged.

    Also, he never once declared his Hunter's Quarry.
    ...Of course, he could just not know how to play.

    I didn't feel the need to remind him of this, of course. I expected him to know it by now.
    So, in addition to throwing a higher-than-average-level encounter at the party, from ambush, starting out by gravely disadvantaging the melee-oriented party, and eliminating terrain that might have favored such a party, you also denied the party a portion of the damage they should have been inflicting, instead of simply reminding the player, because... you felt that player didn't know how to play the game?

    The poor warlord just caught a bad break. Got poisoned and failed saves a lot, including the death saves.
    (And, in a later post...)

    Bad luck that the healer went under first.
    ...And just to top it all off, you targeted the healer first.

    Yeah. The problem isn't that the party doesn't have enough healing. The problem is that you're stacking the odds against them, and then they're having bad luck with their dice on top of that.

    You don't need to add another healer, you just need to tone down the average encounter you're throwing at them and/or stop giving the monsters such big advantages at the opening of the encounter and/or not screw the players over for not remembering a class ability.
    Last edited by Ninetail; 2009-06-11 at 06:55 PM.
    A Butterfly Dreaming - 4e monks and other roleplaying stuff

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •