We finished up the clearing of the village from last game. I’m not going to do a full session report, because I’m a bit burned out at the moment. Not in a bad way, but if you’ve been keeping track of what I’ve been up to, you’ll see that the game last night came at the end of a frantic week.
An awesome week, true. But frantic.
So, what happened in the game?
The Village is Secure
The group picked up at least one PC stronger than we left off last game. We had all 1st level characters, or maybe 1 second level, but mostly 1st level. We had
- Sunshine, a Monk. Low DR from Unarmored Defense, uses an axe and martial asskicking
- Adaemis the Servitor, Cleric of the Light. He was created before I had full domains so he used the SRD5.1 straight out of the book, and that’s fine too. Any domain that can be associated with a Norse god or goddess can probably be shoehorned into the setting. Chain mail (DR 6), spear, shield, and the usual compliment of healing and damaging spells.
- Graves Battleborne, a fighter. Chain mail (DR 6) and a glaive. He uses the reach to very good effect, usually.
- Jack Redwald, Ranger. Leather Armor (DR 1), rapier, longbow. Very good tracker, good stealth, perception, Insight, and Animal handling. He and Adaemis made most of the key spotting rolls this game.
- Yuri is our Warlock. Quarterstaff, dagger, and studded leather, but who cares when you have Eldritch Blast. More on that later.
- Tomas (Tom Rakewell). Rogue/Thief. Rapier, dagger, shortbow. Stealthiest of the group.
Adaemis and Jack, I think, both noticed that the house was sealed to be light-tight, and the right kind of rolls provided that it seemed quite similar to the treatment the Inn/Tavern had been given to keep light out when Kobolds were home.
Adaemis passes along this warming. But no, no. The village is secure. Tom just opens the door and walks in. Two kobolds rush him, the other wakes up groggily. He backs out frantically, and we’re treated to the lovely spectacle of a STR 9 rogue trying to hold the door against two ST 7 kobolds.
His fellow team-mates stand back and ask him if he really needs help. After all, the village is secure. Perhaps he’s dealing with ghosts? Should the Cleric try and turn undead?
Guys! Guys! A little help? Please!
From what? The village is secure, after all.
Empty Featureless Plain
Anyway, at this point, one of our eagle eyed characters – I seem to recall Adaemis rolled a 20 on damn near every perception check that game – noted that a fully-armed lizard man had stuck his head out of House 11, some 135 yards (about 400 feet) away. Within longbow range. Jack fires an arrow at it, and the lizard-warrior uses his reaction to simply brush the arrow out of the air with his shield.
He and one other lizard man emerge, form up two abreast, and start dashing into combat.
We decide that three PCs would make mincemeat out of the kobolds, as they let the door open, the kobolds rush out into the sun, gain disadvantage, and are very nearly slaughtered on the spot. At least one injury, one injured with broken morale, and one groggy. We rule that there’s no point playing that out round by round.
The lizard-man fight is the first “close from long range” fight we’ve had. The PCs rapidly developed tactics to deal with shield-wielding foes. Well, for one, once they closed to within 240′, Eldritch Blast kicked in.
It’s a cantrip, so it does vigor rather than wounds as a basis. But it also does force damage, like magic missile, which means armor doesn’t protect and you cant take it on your shield, because force damage. This more or less makes it better in every respect than a longbow. No ammunition. higher damage roll, the damage type bypasses armor, and a gigantic range. I know I have to tone this down or provide countermeasures.
Anyway, the archers (short bow and longbow) and the Warlock keep up a steady stream of pain headed downrange, and by the time the lizards close to 100′, one of the lizardfolk is hit and his morale breaks. He flees, breaking the two-lizard shield wall and allowing the team to concentrate fire on the lizards. They have decent DR and high Threat DC from their shields, but dude, it’s six-on-one. But the second guy does manage to throw a javelin through Sunshine, who gets mad and delivers two crushing blows that either fell the lizard or damn near. At 22 vigor and with a shield, he’s a tough defensive nut to crack, but crack him they do.
After that, a few arrows and an eldritch blast at the fleeing opponent ends the combat.
- Playing once a month and handing out experience like a bean-counter is no fair to the players. They all happened to level up this game, but three months per level is not fun.
- Game hasn’t broken yet. Some rules questions came up, and my on-the-fly ruling (I have not memorized 367,000 words of rules and setting) tended to match the rules.
- I actually had a laid-out and printed copy of The Book of Heroes, and that matters.
- As +Peter V. Dell’Orto mentioned in his own report, shield are good, but they’re not perfect
- Eldritch Blast is way too strong
- To no one’s surprise, charging across an open field for 400′ was stupid.
- That said, the second lizard was able to close to 30′ and put a javelin through Sunshine (doing some serious wounds, actually) before being slain.
- Players like to take trophies. Gross ones. I think a few sessions ago they collected the scrotum and d20s of an ogre or something; this time, they killed and skinned lizard-folk to get the raw materials to make hide armor.
So, I’ve been doing this for a while now, and I’m convinced Dragon Heresy is a solid foundation. There’s enough similarity with the parent system for easy entry. There’s enough differences that it’s its own thing. Those differences impact play choices, which is exactly how it should be.