I’ll be the first to say it about yesterday’s game: We got lucky.
The party is not high level. We’ve got a mix of characters from, I think, 4th to maybe 6th level, though it may well be tighter than that, perhaps even only 4th and 5th level.
That’s a fun place to play in, I think. But we’re limited. Hit Points for fighter-types in the range of 8-10 as a base, probably +10 to +20 for CON bonuses, and then 20 to 25 more for level advancement. So on the order of 38 to 55 HP.
Case in point: Mark Bludiell, 4th level Paladin at the start of the game, had 38 HP.
But going against a 15th level fighter (or presumably a fighter)? Especially when we didn’t know it? Yeesh. He had about 110 HP, three attacks. But for whatever reason – maybe because it was supposed to be a peaceful negotiation – he was only AC 16. He could have easily been much higher than this.
He also didn’t make use of special abilities. He could have had a whole raft of nifty stuff. Five attribute bonuses (fine, whatever) or Feats. He didn’t use Second Wind. He seems to have been a bog-standard Champion, but it could have been a lot worse. A few magic items with “smite-ish” abilities would have rocked our worlds.
One of the ways it could have been worse? His lieutenants and guards all died with one or two blows. I mean, when our party hits, we tend to hit hard (10-20 HP per turn). But that’ll still put a level 3 guy down in a blow. Damage doesn’t scale up much in D&D5, but (for example) I think if a Paladin expends a 4th level spell slot on Holy Might or Godly Smite or whatever he’s adding 4d8-5d8 to the damage, which is probably on the order of 1d8-1d10 (sword) +3 to+5 (strength) +0-2 for magic bonus. That’s 1d8+3 to 1d10+7 per hit, more for a critical. Average 11-17 per sword stroke; magic and powers compound this from “bad” to “Ow, my leg is gone!” pretty fast.
Still, our Sheriff, of 15th level? Surrounded by utter mooks. Had he a pair of lieutenants with him, instead of two guards and two foppish nobles, we’d have likely been well and truly fed to the Cuisinart.
As it was, Mark went down hard, another character got hit for something like 35 HP, maybe, plus a few more desultory wounds. We’re out of healing and need a rest – badly.
And we won’t get it. There are over a dozen guys still at large just within the castle. At least eight to ten of them are armed with what +Rob Conley referred to as “Knight-killer” crossbows, which I assume do huge damage, and our only hope is to be missed a lot.
Worse yet, we probably can’t take ’em down one at a time, though we can probably try. I know Keyar is a hell of an archer; Mark isn’t awful, and now he gets two attacks as well. So perhaps two to four wounded (and because of the D&D HP model, that doesn’t do anything to their combat effectiveness) or incapacitated (which does).
We need to beat feet, rest and recuperate, and then come back. We need to find allies to help take some of the foot soldiers down. We need to prevent word of our little escapade from hitting the road to the City State too soon. We probably need to get word to the gathering led by Baron Theodar of Greenstream, which might net us some help.
And we need to find the clergy of Mitra, free them, and most importantly, figure out what Herone’s role in all of this is.
Because honestly, for all that this town likely needed a good cleansing, my marked half-elf’s Quest was almost certainly not to overthrow Tain on behalf of Mitra.
Though it’s probably better than the alternative. The Regent of the Overlord, Myrmidon of Set and general bad guy, probably deserves to be overthrown. But I think this is all surface stuff. The deeper currents are something other than power struggles of the human kingdoms, I suspect.