The Alexandrian

Catherine D. posted a very insightful comment in response to my playtesting essays that, indirectly, got me thinking again about the radically different experience I have with combat in 3rd Edition compared to some of the descriptions I hear from others online.

For example, I hear that 3rd Edition combat is static, with characters just standing around and beating on each other — but, at my gaming table, there’s lots of movement and maneuvering. Battles will frequently flow from one room into another.

Catherine also noted that, for her, combat tends to only last a few rounds. In my experience, there’s actually a great deal of variety depending on the style of encounter I’m using. (And this is a subject I may touch on in a later post.) But long battles — often lasting twenty or more rounds — are not unusual in my games.

Similarly, I’ll frequently hear people talking online about how long it takes to resolve a round of combat in 3rd Edition. This isn’t my experience, either. Certainly the longer combats (twenty rounds or more) will take a good chunk of time to play through, but the encounters that only last three or four rounds? Mere minutes of table time.

So, to give some sense of what combat is like in my campaigns, I’ve decided to post an excerpt from the journal for my current campaign. I selected this particular example in response to the following quote from Catherine’s comment:

If the fights all have to be about the same length, they are longer and more engaging. 3.5 said your actions in combat were role-playing, but 4.0 seems to actually mean it. Making fights last long enough to evolve and tell stories was mostly done by fiat and trickery in 3.5; in 4.0, in-combat character choices and battlefield evolution seem to be the default.

Because I have had exactly the opposite experience: In 4th Edition, due to the dissociated nature of the combat mechanics, roleplaying took a backseat to the mechanical manipulation of the game rules. In 3rd Edition, however, I will frequently have roleplaying-intense encounters like the one below.

So this is an example of a lengthy, roleplaying-intensive encounter. Tomorrow I might post an example of a highly mobile combat.


While exploring a cyclopean subterranean complex, the party has stumbled into a large complex of caves inhabited by a clan of goblins. Having befriended the goblins, they discover that the clan is currently besieged by the “oozed ones” — goblins of the clan who have been infected by some sort of parasite which takes control of their brains and slowly turns them into ooze-like creatures.

With several goblin allies, including a goblin warrrior by the name of Itarek, they have journeyed deep into the “caverns of the ooze”…


There was trepidation among those standing at the edge of the sinkhole and surrounded by rotting fungus, sickly slime, and malformed corpses. Tee, in particular, harbored deep misgivings. To her the sinkhole was filled with a horrible foreboding and a sense of nameless doom.

But when the group decided, collectively, that there was no other path to follow, she had no hesitation in leading the way. Agnarr hammered a piton into the rock of the cavern floor and she quickly tied off one of their ropes.

Tee worked her way down the rope, reversing herself in mid-air as she came level with where the sinkhole opened up into a larger cavern. Peering over the ceiling’s edge she found herself looking down into a long hall.

The end of this hall, where the sinkhole was located, had completely collapsed. In the opposite direction, two enormous troughs — each running at least eighty feet along the length of the hall – were filled to the brim with the insidious olive slime. Beyond these troughs, the hall ended in a short flight of stairs and a set of double doors wrought from iron.

Tee stared into this hall for a long while, but perceived no motion or threat of danger. When she was satisfied, she reversed herself again and completed her climb. Looking up, she motioned for the others to follow.

Tor was next, and he quickly joined Tee below. But Dominic, who was to follow, had no confidence in his ability to manage the long climb. So a crude harness was furnished from another rope, and Agnarr lowered the priest to the hall below.


As Tee was working to release Dominic from his harness, however, Tor suddenly gave a cry and drew his sword: The troughs of ooze were beginning to undulate.

Tee whirled and drew her dragon pistol, blasting at the surface of the trough to her left. As she did so, the motions of the ooze became great waves which sickeningly shuddered their way from one end of the troughs to the other.

Suddenly, at the far end of one of the troughs, a figure emerged – crawling its way out of the ooze. Standing firm and proud, the ooze running in rivulets from his body, was the warcaster Ursaal. With a sickening laugh he conjured forth a sickly, greenish web of monstrous proportions – effectively creating a sanctuary for himself upon the steps at the far end of the chamber.

Elestra, seeing the commotion below, leapt instantly for the rope and hurriedly began climbing down. Agnarr followed her, but neither of them was well-skilled in climbing and they were making slow progress.

Meanwhile, below, Ursaal had begun the casting of a complicated ritual. And new figures were lumbering out of the ooze troughs – animate slimes that closed quickly with Tee and Tor.

Tee called out for help. Ranthir, hearing this, moved close to the edge of the sinkhole and shouted down: “Agnarr! Let go of the rope!”

The barbarian, with complete trust in his heart, instantly released his grip. Ranthir, with a flick of his wrist, released arcane energies that arrested the barbarian’s fall, reducing it to that of a feather.

Within moments, the barbarian alighted on the floor below. With a great cry – “FOR THE GLORY!” – he drew his greatsword and placed himself between the nearest ooze and the rapidly backpedaling Tee.

The other ooze, meanwhile, was trying to bullrush Tor into one of the ooze troughs. As Tor neared the trough the ooze within it welled up in a great wave and sought to smash into him, but the warrior nimbly side-stepped both attacks, forcing the two oozes into a compromised position between Tor and Agnarr.

But no sooner had they contained the threat of the oozes than Ursaal completed his casting. Four new creatures appeared from nowhere – blubbery masses of animate flesh with multiple mouths filled with sharp, spiny teeth.

These creatures rushed up the hall, clogging the narrow gaps between the troughs and walls. Tor and Agnarr were both forced to turn their attention and deal with them.

Tee, meanwhile, had been trying to blast Ursaal with her dragon pistol. But now her aim was spoiled as the warcaster began to unleash blasts of arcane energy down the length of the hall. Several of these struck Tee in the chest, causing her to stumble back.

Elestra finished climbing down the rope, narrowly ducking under one of the blasts aimed at Tee. She could see that the disorganized ranks of her companions were being overwhelmed by the sheer number of opponents.

Elestra’s communion with the Spirit of the City had opened to her the ways of the vermin and a knowledge of the tongues that might be used to control them. She used it now – sending a high-pierced whistle which brought forth the bats of the cavern and sent them down upon their foes.

Unfortunately, this gambit was quickly reversed upon itself. Ursaal unleashed a magical panic amidst the swarm of bats, sending the mindless creatures back to fall upon Agnarr and Tor in a frenzied rage.

Even more chaos was unleashed only moments later as goblins began to fall from the sinkhole. Itarek and his warriors had tried to clamber down the ropes, but they were apparently completely without experience in such matters. Those who had managed to cling to the ropes were, nonetheless, knocked free by those who followed and fell. Two of them were instantly knocked unconscious by the fall, while the thick bones and skin of Itarek and one of his warriors managed to keep them conscious.

But even as things seemed to be coming completely unhinged, the course of the battle began to turn. The frenzied bats scattered, sweeping back up the sinkhole while screaming their outrage. Several of the flesh-like creatures had already been dispatched by the blades of Tor and Agnarr, and now one of the ooze-creatures was shuddering its way to death. One of Tee’s blasts from the dragon pistol caught Ursaal in his shoulder, sending him stumbling backwards against the wall.

And even as Ursaal lurched back to his feet, Ranthir suddenly appeared – having climbed the ropes with a slow, deliberate calm. Lowering his hand, Ranthir unleashed an arcane blast of his own, catching Ursaal in the chest and leaving a smoldering ruin of scorched cloth and flesh.

With a guttural cry, Ursaal turned and fled – wrenching open the iron doors, fleeing through them, and slamming them shut behind.

With the warcaster gone, the companions and the goblins quickly surrounded and destroyed the remaining ooze creature.


A sudden hush filled the long hall – the violence ending almost as quickly as it had began. But even in this unexpected lull, the threat of danger still hung thickly over them. The door may have been shut upon Ursaal, but the warcaster was still an eminent threat.

They rallied quickly, reviving the injured goblins and falling into a defensive formation that quickly moved down the hall. Agnarr, with his flaming sword, hacked through the webs that Ursaal had left behind him. Once a path had been cleared to the stairs, he and Tee climbed up to the double doors of iron.

Tee quickly inspected the doors and found that no traps had been laid upon them. She fell back into the middle of the defensive formation at the base of the stairs, leaving Agnarr alone to place his hand upon the latch and swing one of the doors open.

Beyond the doors lay a spacious hexagonal chamber illuminated by seven strangely illuminated braziers which were arranged in a ten-foot-diameter circle in the center of the room. The sickly green stone of the braziers was carved into the shape of writhing, amorphous tendrils reaching up to support corroded iron bowls in which sputtered foul-smelling flames.

These braziers surrounded a strange idol carved in amorphous, undulating waves. Thick sheets of dripping algae and slime coated the walls, and dark-green tentacles of the stuff dangled down from the ceiling like thick, half-congealed ropes. All of this stuff slithered and writhed – sliding about the place almost as if it were possessed of life.

Vision into the room was utterly obscured by the constantly wavering layers of gelatinous growths, but shadows could clearly be seen moving within.

As Tee and Agnarr had worked, Elestra had whispered to her python viper – instructing it to follow the scent of Ursaal. So, as Agnarr opened the door, the massive snake slid between his legs.

Agnarr moved to follow, but as his arms touched the dangling tendrils he felt waves of horrible nausea sweep through his skin and overwhelm his senses. The floor beneath him, too, seemed to reel at his tread. He lurched backwards, but the tendrils reached out as if to follow him. With a disgusted sweep of his greatsword he sliced them away.

Agnarr stepped forward again, this time planning to cut a path through the seething chaos of slime and fungus. But as he did so, the unmistakable chants of an arcanist echoed through the smoky chamber. Acting on sheer instinct, Agnarr leaped back and slammed the door shut.

A moment passed as all of them looked at each other. But then Elestra, realizing that her beloved pet was now trapped within the room, gave a sharp cry and leapt forward, shoving the door open again and crying out for the snake to return to her side.

This proved immediately disastrous. More shadowy shapes were now moving within the room, and the cadence of the spellcasting immediately shifted as the door opened. Only a moment later, a stinking, yellowish cloud of noxious fumes rushed out of the darkness and overwhelmed everyone beyond the door. It hung cloyingly in the air, leaving those trapped within it gagging and retching.

Simultaneously, more of the fleshy, befanged creatures rushed between the dangling tentacles of slime. Agnarr met them with his blade. Tor tried to move up to help him, but Elestra was blocking his way.

The goblins, along with Dominic and Ranthir, fell back from the noxious cloud. But Tee, taking careful and unerring aim with her dragon pistol, shot between her friends and caught one of the fleshy creatures in the centers of its mass.

A voice came out of the darkness, cutting through Elestra’s shrill shrieks for her python viper and booming cacophonously through the stone chambers: “You have disturbed a holy place. I, Morbion, shall wreak the vengeance of Jubilex upon you!”

It was then that a tall figure strode into view, mounting the amorphous idol in the center of the room as if it were a platform or dais. Though goblinesque in feature, Morbion’s skin was sickly, sweat-slicked, and ashen grey. From his back four greenish tentacles of slime curled out with sinister intent.

Morbion lowered one hand and with voice imperial chanted a single arcane syllable. The sound of it seemed to grow and echo. At the mere touch of such a sound, the few remaining cindershards worn by the party shattered into useless crystal.

Nausea swept over them, but Agnarr kept enough sense about him to slash out with his greatsword and slay the last of the fleshy creatures hounding them at the doors. He reached out to swing the great doors shut and buy them a moment of respite from the dangerous spells of Morbion, but Elestra, still shouting for her snake, shoved them open again and stepped inside.

Morbion lowered a second hand and uttered a second syllable. The noise of it joined with the first, until the conjoined sound seemed to physically batter at their bodies. A terrible ache filled their bones. Blood burst from noses, ears, and even eyes.

Tor, staggering from the assault and already seeing the beginnings of a rout, called for a general retreat and began falling back toward the ropes leading up through the sinkhole. Dominic followed him.

Elestra, on the other hand, seemed oblivious to both her pain and the chaos unfolding behind her. She just kept screaming for her python viper to come back.

Agnarr, unwilling to simply leave Elestra behind, reached out to grab her and pull her back through the door. But she shrugged him off.

Tee, too, hesitated in following Tor’s command. She pulled the trigger on her dragon pistol, trying to distract Morbion and perhaps buy Agnarr a few more moments to get Elestra under control.

But the slimy tendrils hanging within the room seemed to sway deliberately into the path of the energy bolt, deflecting it harmlessly away. Almost simultaneously, Morbion’s arcane chant again rose to a crescendo – this time unleashing from his hands a coruscating wave of chaotic, ricocheting energy that smashed into the area around the doors with a polychromatic fury.

Tee was battered about as if caught in a hurricane – the energy seemed to slice into her like razors, shredding her shirt and raising swelling lines of blood across her face and hands and arms.

Elestra staggered under the onslaught, and Agnarr – although coughing up blood himself – seized the opportunity to grab her and haul her back through the doors. He tried, once again, to close them, but Elestra — crying for her viper — summoned up her last dregs of strength and threw herself against them.

If he had been given the chance, Agnarr might have been able to force the doors shut. But the momentary gap left open by Elestra’s efforts proved catastrophic: Through it Morbion unleashed a fireball. Agnarr and Elestra were both caught in the heart of its fury – they fell without a sound. Tee, near the edge of the inferno, managed to throw herself to safety… but the goblins who had been clustered around her did not fare so well. They, like Agnarr and Elestra, fell where they stood.


Morbion descended from atop the amorphous idol. The four tentacles of slime upon his back gently pushed back the draping tendrils as he strode imperiously toward the door.

Fortunately for them all, Tee’s reactions were quick: Leaping away from the fireball, she rolled sinuously to her feet and bounded forward to where the door stood half ajar. Reaching over Agnarr’s charcoaled flesh, she slammed the door shut. Simultaneously she reached into her bag of holding and pulled out a length of rope. This she rapidly looped around the handles of the door, binding it shut.

Even as the last loop of rope was drawn taut, Tee could hear more chanting coming from behind the door. There was no time. She reached down, grabbed Agnarr’s body by the arm, and awkwardly dragged it into her bag of holding. Then she did the same with Elestra.

As Elestra’s body disappeared into the sub-dimensional space of the bag, the doors reverberated with an echoing crash. The hastily bound ropes held, but it was clear they would not hold for long.

Tee fell back with a distressed glance at the bodies of the goblins – including Itarek – that she didn’t have time to save.

At the far end of the hall, Tor was standing sentry at the bottom of the ropes leading up through the sinkhole. Above him, Dominic and Ranthir were slowly climbing their way up to the ruined fungal garden. But whether it was their injuries or their panic or their physical frailty, their progress was slow at best.

As Tee, stumbling down the length of the hallway, reached Tor’s side the iron doors behind her were suddenly burst asunder. Morbion stood there, and at his side another of the fleshy, fanged creatures crouched.

The sight or the sound of this shocked Dominic. The priest lost his grip on the rope and fell, knocking Ranthir – who was climbing close behind him – off as well. Ranthir fell awkwardly and was knocked unconscious. Dominic’s fall was cushioned by Ranthir’s body, but the priest felt his leg twist and with a horrible burning pain his right knee was wrenched and torn.

Tee and Tor had barely gotten out of the way of their falling comrades, and now they looked uncertainly between Dominic, Morbion, and the ropes above.

“Go!” Dominic shouted from the floor. “Get out! Someone has to get out!”

Tee and Tor grabbed the ropes and began to climb. But they were too late: Morbion crossed the hall with a frightening speed and, before they could get out of their reach, Tee and Tor were ripped from the ropes by Morbion’s tentacles.

Both of them managed to land on their feet, but only awkwardly so. And before either of them could do much, Morbion and his demonic servant had battered them to the edge of death. As black oblivion claimed them, they knew all hope was lost: Only the crippled Dominic, among all their company, remained.


While Tee and Tor had struggled their last, Dominic had pushed the pain from his mind, hauled himself to his feet, and fought to escape the hopeless melee. He avoided the horrible, crushing blows of Morbion’s tentacles – but only by putting himself within the reach of Morbion’s fleshy monstrosity. The creature’s black-crusted claws raked his arm while its incised fangs tore gaping wounds in his back.

The force of the creature’s assault nearly sent Dominic tumbling into the nearby trough. In response, then ooze within the trough reared up and slammed into him, sending him spinning nauseously back down the length of the hall.

Retching and limping – the pain in his knee flaring with every step – Dominic stumbled his way back towards the iron doors. He had not gone far when Morbion – finished, at least for the moment with Tee and Tor – turned and began to pursue him.

Morbion’s pace was slow, deliberate… almost mocking. It was clear that he thought of Dominic as nothing more than a final plaything – one last victim to be toyed with and then disposed of with the rest. He knew that there was no escape to be found beyond the doors.

But Dominic’s thought was not bent upon escape. Dominic’s heart was turned to hope.

And so, as Morbion drew ever closer, Dominic came to the bodies of the goblins who had served at their side. He fell to his knees beside the body of Itarek… a body that still rose and fell with shallow, dying breaths. And he closed his eyes in prayer. And from his hands flowed the power of his faith.

Itarek opened his eyes.


The fire bathed him and cleansed him and brought the cairn-dark to his eyes. The bane-doom of his clan had come to rest upon his shoulders, too. The memories of the caves passed before him, and he traveled the Long Hall to the Mysteries of the Plain.

But as he journeyed down the Long Hall, he saw before him two figures. And one had the form of a man with golden skin. And the other was that of a great snake with silver scales and gossamer wings.

And the figures spoke to him thus, with voices of conjoined chorus: “Turn back, Itarek Clan-Warrior. This hall is no place for the quick.”

And Itarek answered thus: “But my place is upon the Green Fields of our Lost Fathers, for I am dead, my liege-lords.” And he fell to his knees and bowed his head, for they seemed to him now to be great chieftains.

At this the golden-skinned warrior laughed and the silver snake spoke again, this time its voice seeming no more than a whisper: “How can you be dead, Itarek Clan-Warrior? For you yet breathe.”

And at the words breath burst in Itarek’s chest and the blood beat through his veins. The figures seemed to step behind a veil, the Long Hall faded into shadow, and he opened his eyes once more upon the heart of the bane-doom.

The heroes of the world above had fallen. Their broken bodies lay scattered upon the floor. Only the Holy Man of the Forgotten Gods remained, and Itarek understood now that the strength had been restored to his limbs and the breath to his body only through the divine grace that flowed through the faith of this man. And Itarek felt that faith being born in his own blood. He felt it beating through his own heart.

Now, beyond the Holy Man he saw the bane-bearer Morbion and, at his side, a demon of corrupted flesh. He saw, too, that the Holy Man wavered upon the bloody brink of death. His fingers tightened upon his sword. His legs beat down upon the floor and he rose.

Itarek stepped forward and lowered his sword. “Morbion!” he cried. “I name you Kinslayer and Clanbane. I utter clan-curse upon you. And in the name of those you have killed and those you have corrupted, I give you the challenge of the clan.”

“Do you think me still bound by your mortal law?” Morbion said, and his voice was cold ash. With a flick of his wrist, the bane-bearer sent his demon forward – a mavering maw of muscular death.

Itarek thrust forth his sword, and impaled the demon upon it. “Bane you may be,” he said. “But in your chest still beats a goblin heart.”

And he wrenched free his blade. The demon fell dead at his feet, and in the eyes of Morbion the flickering flame of anger was kindled. Itarek saw it. He knew it. And it gave him hope, for now his vain words rang true in his own ears: Strange and blighted Morbion may have become, but he was not beyond the ken of blade or the bite of steel.

Morbion came forth and the tentacles of his corruption beat upon Itarek. But Itarek did not fear them. Behind him, the Holy Man remained upon his knees and Itarek could hear the murmur of his prayer and could feel the golden strength of it flowing into his limbs. It knit his wounds and soothed his pain.

“Bane you may be, but in your chest still beats a goblin heart!” he cried again. He raised his sword and brought it low. And at its passing, one of the corrupt tendrils fell free and flew from the back of Morbion.

Morbion cried in rage: “I have forsaken your ways!”

And Itarek answered with sword and word: “Forsworn you may be, but oaths there are that must be kept!”

And another tendril fell. And Itarek saw that, like his sword, his words had found their mark – for Morbion paid no mind to the priest or his prayers, and all his hate was bent upon Itarek alone.

And for this Itarek was glad, for he was sure that without the prayers of the priest he would be lost. Fast with blade he might be, but no speed could match the terrible might of Morbion.

Even then, as if to mock his thought, Morbion bore down upon him and drove him to the floor. His twin tendrils closed about Itarek’s throat and he laughed, “Did you think to stop me? Know that the Galchutt shall awaken! Know that all hope is lost!”

Through the red blackness that blurred his vision, Itarek looked up with bloodshot eyes. Through bruised and bloodied lips, he smiled. Through choked voice, he laid his sooth: “In darkness you may be lost, but the fires of our clan will light your way.”

And the prayers of the Holy Man beat upon him and spurred him. In that prayer he found his strength.

And now Morbion fell back before him and the anger in his eyes turned to fear.

“In the fires of our clan, your limbs shall burn, your blood shall boil, and your soul shall die!” And Itarek thrust his blade deep into the chest of Morbion.

The Bane-Bearer and Kinslayer and Clanbane fell. And his final breath was a warning and a curse: “The chaos comes. There is no hope…”

And Itarek turned his eyes from him and looked upon his fallen comrades and he wept.


Dominic had watched the duel between Itarek and Morbion through a haze of dull pain and desperation. It was taking all the strength he could muster merely to keep Itarek on his feet, and he couldn’t understand why Morbion didn’t simply strike him down and ensure his victory.

When it was finally over and Itarek turned to weep over his comrades, Dominic turned to his own friends and began the rites to heal their broken bodies.

When it was done, all of them – Dominic, Agnarr, Ranthir, Tee, Tor, and Elestra – were amazed to find themselves still alive. It had seemed to all of them that the catastrophe at the door would be their final folly.

But although they were alive, they were far from well. Their bodies were battered, bruised, and burned. Wounds still oozed fresh blood through crude bandages. Dominic had expended nearly all of their healing resources, and there were still the goblins to be healed.

An argument broke out at this. Elestra simply dismissed the goblins as a concern – they had decided that other grievously injured goblins were beyond the point that they could or should be saved, and these were no different. Tee agreed with her – without healing magic they might find it difficult or impossible to escape back to the safety of the clan caverns.

But Agnarr was adamant: If they had the ability to save the goblins, then the goblins must be saved. “Without them we would be dead.” He pointed to Itarek. “Without him we would all be dead.”

Dominic nodded his agreement and brooked any further argument by simply setting to work. Within a few minutes, the goblins – much like the rest of them – were bloodied but breathing.

Agnarr turned his attention to Morbion’s corpse. The ooze lord had worn many fine garments and carried much in the way of useful-looking equipment. Agnarr gathered these things together, and then dumped the corpse back through the iron doors. When he was done, he bound a fresh rope around the handles of the door.

Tee, meanwhile, had begun firing her dragon pistol repeatedly into the ooze troughs. The blasts of energy seemed effective in annihilating the sickly substance and she was intent on destroying it completely.

Tee halted her efforts, however, when she saw Elestra heading towards the iron doors at the far end of the hall. “Where are you going?”

“My snake is still back there,” Elestra said. “I’m going to get him.”

“No you’re not,” Tee said.

Another argument broke out: Elestra was, once again, insisting that they go after her snake.

But Tee was as adamant on this issue as Agnarr had been on the last: “The warcaster is still back there somewhere. We don’t know what else might be waiting for us. We’re only one step away from death and we have no healing magic if anything goes wrong. We’re not going through those doors – we’re not even going to try to climb those ropes – until we’ve had a chance to rest and a chance to heal.”

When it became clear to Elestra that none of them were going to let her through the doors, she relented. And so it was decided that they would wait here, at least until morning.

Tee went back to blasting the ooze troughs.

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2 Responses to “Tales from the Table: The End of the Ooze Lord”

  1. Justin Alexander says:


    This is great sotrytelling through dynamic combat. This reminds me of when my whispergnome barbarian Runt Dogspike had just finished a harrowing campaign through the realm of Ravenloft in an attempt to find and kill Strahd. In the midst of his journey, he voluntarily failed his saving throw when being bit by a werewolf, ended up being drained by a vampire and brought back by Strahd, where he retained his werewolf template and a vampiric one. Our party had a more difficult time fighting and subduing my character (so he could be resurrected) than they had defeating Strahd. With the right cleric spells and dice rolls, two characters managed to utterly destroy Strahd in the span of a single round.
    Thursday, July 24, 2008, 7:10:08 PM

    Once that campaign ended, Runt was brought back and helped guard our party’s newly-built keep. We were ambushed by flying draconian ninjas while my barbarian was guarding the portal that led into the keep. He had to step through the 2-way teleporter and run for 4 rounds to get back into the central keep area. By the time Runt returned, the ninjas had retreated, only for the REAL attack force to bust into the keep. When the enemy called for us to surrender, Runt immediately charged the leader in an attempt to slay him, but completely missed and ran right past him. Ugly combat ensued, our party’s wounds increasing dramatically. The enemy leader suddenly summons up 2 size-large draconic draconian dragonkin wearing adamantium breastplate and wielding spiked chains (I’m not making this up, our DM piled up similar templates to create a low-CR yet VERY deadly enemy). When it looked like the battle was nearly lost despite the leader’s low health, Runt, bleeding from all points and having merely 10hp left, charged the enemy in a fit of unbridled rage and landed 2 massive critical hits with a size medium Metaline greataxe. The retributive protections of the enemy leader activated, and both warriors died in an epic blaze of glory. This was a level 6 barbarian delivering the killing blow to a creature nearly twice his level. Casualties ensued after Runt’s death (those dragonkin were a real bitch), but the battle was eventually won.

    Can anybody see this kind of battle actually happening in a 4th edition game? Honestly?
    Thursday, July 24, 2008, 7:19:53 PM

  2. Daniel Kellett says:

    So most of that could happen in a 4e campaign. Including Mortegros comment

    the thing with the bats i’m assuming is a prestige class or magic item type thing? maybe houseruled?
    either way not something that happens in 4e

    The rope shenanigans strikes me as the kind of mechanic (pass check or fall on ass) that smart players avoid unless they’re good at Athletics but that strikes me as normal for both editions

    Familiars in 4e are pretty abstracted (such that you can forget them when they’re not important because that happens anyway) so it couldn’t have got stuck in the room… probably

    I’d love to see whats happening mechanically, behind the scenes as it were. Does a player revive an NPC and then watch their epic fight while doing nothing? cos that could happen in 4e but is kinda bad form in any system

    Mortegro- starting an encounter with a player 4 rounds(many RL minutes?) from the action is kind of a dick move and the draconic draconian is wierd. Encounter difficulty isn’t just CR (the 4e system for encounter level is an excellent tool btw). Mitigating factors like teamwork, luck, damage weaknesses and terrain play a big role. Inflating a monsters difficult while artificially keeping it’s CR low is either a giggle or a pointless evasion

    Context-I play Powered by the Apocalypse games with a brilliant group for the drama and violence and DM 4e for a bunch of morons. I know next to nothing about 3e because as far as I can tell from not looking very hard, the main advantage is the insane amount of content

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