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 Post subject: GenCon and the DCC tourney
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:03 pm 
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Well, another GenCon has come and gone! It was a great con.

A hearty congrats to the Blood Kings for taking the DCC championship this year!

I'll post some stories a little later this week. Right now, I'm going to catch up on some sleep. ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:36 am 
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Congrats to all the teams, especially to those I game mastered for (Simple Weapons, Clan Yeoman, Team Gygax, and Smoked). I don't like to disclose tactics and stories, because its not fair to the teams who have hard won experience, but hopefully some of them will share a tidbit or two. Fun was had by *most*, and I won't steal their thunder by disclosing the kill rate, but one of my teams had 3 deaths (-10) and *still* were an alternate to advance to level 2.

My pre-con prediction was: first level was a cake walk, second level 80% kill rate to room 2, and round 3 50% dead at room 3 and all TPK. All this was completely wrong and all the teams surprised us, as they do every year.

So break out your stories!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 7:02 pm 
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What?!? No tournament chatter yet? Alright...I'll start things off.

As usual, we had a blast at the DCC tournament. Special thanks to all of the stellar GMs that gave their time to run the event!

Superfan...the maps were gorgeous, man. I even took the round 3 maps with me.

Now...for some tournament talk!

We chose Tanlew, Thoromir, Corebrin, and Rootli (the cleric, thief, warrior, and mage). The mage and cleric were a bit weaker, but we were banking on the hope that the PCs would advance levels between rounds. This combination also gave us the best distribution of skills.

Round 1 was brutal...moreso than round 2 and 3 (in my opinion). One good hit could drop even the most stalwart in the party...and even good groups can have bad die rolls.

Throughout round 1, we kept having PCs drop. Hell...we had a goblin with a quarterstaff beat the living crap out of us...what does that tell you?

When we'd run across the occasional goodberry, we'd squeal with glee and cram them in our mouths (or make a goodberry mush to
feed to an unconscious companion) and trudge forward. I don't think we've ever been so thankful for a 1 hp goodberry.

We stumbled into the final room with our warrior wobbling at 0 hp, our thief at 1 hp, our mage at 1 hp, and cleric with 3 hp. So, we had our 3 hp cleric step toe to toe with the final bad guy. You can guess how that went... even still, there was something strangely herioc about it.

Our most hated room was from that round was the room with the spheres. I didn't time it, but I'm pretty sure we squandered a couple hours in that room. We were insistent that we could figure out the puzzle without Sezrakin's help (plus...it's humiliating having to ask "please" every time). We figured out the weights of the spheres on our own, then tried putting the correct amount in...only to be zapped. After that point, we tried asking Sezrakin for help. Each time, he'd give us something we already knew. We had to ask him for help 7 times before he gave us something useful. Damn Sezrakin!

Alright...that's enough to get the ball rolling here. I'll post some round 2 and 3 stories later.

P.S. Adrian....I have a message from Peter Adkison. He would like to thank you for being the Union Station hall monitor and help desk. Your check is in the mail.

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Last edited by fathead on Mon Aug 20, 2007 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 7:15 pm 
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N'Haaz-aua wrote:

round 3 50% dead at room 3


Ah...that must be the delapidated demonic entrance hall where the purple worm burst up from underneath the stairs. That had to be our most memorable encounter from round 3. Our entire group wept. The first person to be grabbed was our warrior. We debated for a LONGGGG time about whether Corebrin should kill himself...by exploding a ground zero fireball in its' stomach...which would set off all of the other charges in a massive explosion. Eventually, we decided against it...sad, too...it would have made for a great story.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 7:52 pm 
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That worm comes at you under two conditions: if you walk in front of the stairs (as a result of the true seeing trap you guys sorta found) or as a result of walking atop the landing.
There's really no way to avoid him, but the conditions under which the fight occurs change dramatically.
If you meet him at the foot of the stairs, he's a fully-operational Death Star, including his tail sting. If you fight him on the landing, he's pinned (not in the grappling sense) and has to wriggle free, with no access to his stinger.
IF he had lasted one more round, he would have destroyed the entire landing while wresting himself free, making everyone (including himself) make Reflex saves from falling blocks and rubble.

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P.S. Adrian....I have a message from Peter Adkison. He would like to thank you for being the Union Station hall monitor and help desk. Your check is in the mail.


Laughed. Out. Loud.
Seriously, I didn't mind doing it - how often is it you get to have a conversation with one of Indianapolis's Finest about the relative merits of succubi? how often is it a police officer browbeats you into eating White Castle sliders? - but MAN I wish it hadn't been necessary!

Echoing (and paraphrasing) something Joseph said on another thread, round 1 was BRUTAL. Some of the tournament attendees had the "thousand-yard-stare" coming out of that round...0-level ain't no joke.
But as fathead properly pointed out, there's something innately heroic about those characters - hopelessly outclassed - going toe-to-toe with Gazihmon, Agig the goblin shillelaugh-druid, and their minions.
The best teams adapted to the situation, used nonconventional tactics, and - most of all - knew when to say "when."
The coolest stories I heard from round 1 was from the teams that tried to lure Agig and his dire rat into the traps they had bypassed...or into the alchemost! Brilliant!

Anyway, this year we really asked the teams to step up...to bring their A-game or get butchered. I hope it was at least a little fun as well as challenging.

Quote:
...by exploding a ground zero fireball in its' stomach...


I have to say, I was rooting for that! I was working on a paraphrase of Oppenheimer's "radiance of a thousand suns" quote (in re. the Trinity atomic blast) to make it appropriate to a fiendish purple worm detonating from inside...so cool!

Even though I (unforgivably) confused the sequence of rooms (I blame the sliders), once you guys found the secret door in the ceiling of the implosion-door room you were cooking with gas...and the backtracking that afforded you let you find the tarot cards you had missed.

Hope you guys - and ALL the tournament teams - make it next year...



...and oh yes, there WILL be a tournament next year.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:03 pm 
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My favorite tactic of the con that didn't come to pass: "If the dwarf sets off the Implosion trap, maybe we can all run in together really fast and get through!" It took everything I had not to smile ear to ear.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:07 pm 
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Jengenritz wrote:
Quote:
P.S. Adrian....I have a message from Peter Adkison. He would like to thank you for being the Union Station hall monitor and help desk. Your check is in the mail.


Laughed. Out. Loud.
Seriously, I didn't mind doing it - how often is it you get to have a conversation with one of Indianapolis's Finest about the relative merits of succubi? how often is it a police officer browbeats you into eating White Castle sliders? - but MAN I wish it hadn't been necessary!


Dude...I have to admit...it was damn funny seeing GenCon attendees quiz you on the location of their game or ask you where the bathroom was. Good stuff.

Jengenritz wrote:
Echoing (and paraphrasing) something Joseph said on another thread, round 1 was BRUTAL. Some of the tournament attendees had the "thousand-yard-stare" coming out of that round...0-level ain't no joke.


It honestly was. Round 1 was more frightening to me than any of the other rounds. When one hit can drop your poor character and make him eat dirt, it sure does make you a little more nervous...you no longer have that hit point buffer.

Jengenritz wrote:
Quote:
...by exploding a ground zero fireball in its' stomach...


I have to say, I was rooting for that! I was working on a paraphrase of Oppenheimer's "radiance of a thousand suns" quote (in re. the Trinity atomic blast) to make it appropriate to a fiendish purple worm detonating from inside...so cool!


Yeah...but killing the purple worm from the inside...with a dagger. That was pretty cool too.

Jengenritz wrote:
once you guys found the secret door in the ceiling of the implosion-door room you were cooking with gas...


Ah...yeah...THAT room. After the round, I complained to the rest of the group that they decide to play implosion door leap frog while I was in the rest room.

Jengenritz wrote:

Hope you guys - and ALL the tournament teams - make it next year...


Oh, definitely. If my team isn't there, I'll be joining the darkside to see the expressions of terror from the other side of the screen. One way or another, I'll be there!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:47 pm 
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Jengenritz wrote:
how often is it a police officer browbeats you into eating White Castle sliders?

I like to think that was my doing.

Seriously, though. This was another great tournament. It was a thrill and pleasure to judge this year. The teams never cease to amaze me. The players always come up with unique solutions to problems our playtesters never dreamed of, and ultimately that's what it's all about.

There were a lot of highly organized teams this year. One thing that struck me was the creative use of the entire landscape for terrain advantage in combats. Teams would often retreat to previously explored rooms to draw their combatants into familiar quarters. Especially in Round 1, the aid another action proved an invaluable tool for many an aspiring 0-leveler.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:00 pm 
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fathead wrote:
Ah...that must be the delapidated demonic entrance hall where the purple worm burst up from underneath the stairs...


Ah! I was wondering how the PCs enjoyed my little pet worm. (Heh heh.) :twisted:

Thanks Jengenritz, as always, for coordinating & running what sounds like the best tournament yet. I sincerely wish I could have been there to see it.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:31 pm 
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Quote:
Ah! I was wondering how the PCs enjoyed my little pet worm. (Heh heh.)


Seriously one of my favorite encounters from round 3...especially in its ORIGINAL form! You tournament-goers don't know this, but that thing originally had TWO heads...!
A two-headed, fiendish purple worm! RUN FOR YOUR VERY LIVES!

I get charged up just thinking about it!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:25 am 
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zirzird wrote:
There were a lot of highly organized teams this year. One thing that struck me was the creative use of the entire landscape for terrain advantage in combats. Teams would often retreat to previously explored rooms to draw their combatants into familiar quarters. Especially in Round 1, the aid another action proved an invaluable tool for many an aspiring 0-leveler.


Drawing combatants out into other rooms?! Why the hell didn't we think of that? That was an awesome idea.

While we can't claim to have done that, we did try to use the landscape for some advantage. When you're zero level, you have to use anything you can.

In round 1, we advanced through the entrance hall. We found the trap along the stairway, and decided to free the wagon from the wax, which we used to prop ourselves up on the stairs (one by one, Corebrin giving us all boosts up). Luckily, we had chosen the opposite side to ascend. The hidden goblin on the stairs started chucking javlins at us, and we ducked beneath the sides of the stairs for cover. After he ran out of javlins, we bum-rushed him.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:31 am 
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I'm curious...which PCs were chosen by the other teams in the final round?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:57 am 
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Simple Weapons had the same 4 food groups as Yeoman.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:59 am 
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Man, I wish I could've attended GenCon and played in the DCC Tourney!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:12 am 
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I also wanted to comment on the "horror" element of the module. One staple of any horror campaign is taking the familiar and making it strange. I LOVED the fact that we were exploring all of the same rooms in the final round (as 10th level characters) that we did in round 1 (as 0th level characters). For whatever reason, it was the entrance hall that really hit home for me. Not only did the descriptions cause the hair to raise...but Ben's illustrations provided the extra "ooph".

In round 1, the entrance hall certainly suffered from decay, but everything was intact. In round 3, the sections of wax boiled and sizzled, the staircase now had a sinister demonic face on it, one half of the stair case had been reduced to rubble....VERY cool.

In regards to the implosion doors - while our group was silently cursing (oh wait...I actually think we WERE cursing) the secret door...in retrospect, that whole room was simply brilliant. It always bugged me that modules would provide puzzles and riddles, which would always help defeat the bad guy. In this instance, the bad guy attempts to deceive the group. It was perfect.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:53 pm 
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fathead wrote:
I'm curious...which PCs were chosen by the other teams in the final round?


The Blood Kings had the Monk (aristocrat) and the Ranger (Guard) and no Wizard. Im not exactly sure of the rest.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:16 pm 
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Just a few random thoughts

"Blood of Kings" had the ranger, monk, cleric, and rogue. Oddly the "Glen Eagles" (my round 2 table) also had the same mix.

The ranger had sick fire power if he was shooting at "evil" targets. That holy bow was holy terror. He killed half of everything in the third round.

Its funny you mentioned the fireball inside the purple worm trick. My playtest group was gonna use the exact same tactic. Fortunately the ranger killed it one round before it was necessary.

For all the fiendish purple worms awsomeness, it was kinda funny when it got "Dismissed" in round 3. It wasn't likely but sometimes the "Hail Mary Shot" pays off. (I think it rolled a 4 for its save). Talk about some excited players. At that point the cleric had unquestionably earned the MVP for round 3 for all the time a resources saved.

I think everyone had to test the implosion trap at least once. Blood of Kings actually tested it twice. If they hadn't deavtivated the third one alrerady, I'm sure they would have walked into that one too.

How did everyone do in the shadow room. That was a tuff fight. I almost took out my playtest group in that room.

Had a blast this year, looking forward to next year.

Mouse :oops:


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:02 am 
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Actually, the Gleneagles group had the Fighter (Warrior) rather than the Monk. But we just didnt play very well that day. I actually thought we fared better in the 1st round and we were only alternates after that (Thanx Monte).

All in all it looks like we need to step our game up for next year. I know a couple of things I would do different, but thats all 20-20 hindsight.

Good tourney as always.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:13 am 
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eleran wrote:
All in all it looks like we need to step our game up for next year. I know a couple of things I would do different, but thats all 20-20 hindsight.


Were you the alternate that replaced Monte's team in round 2?

How far did you get in round 1? What did you think you would have done differently, in retrospect?

After we played round 1, I was sure that we didn't advance (we had a character death and didn't finish the last encounter). In round 2, I didn't think that we made it very far (we explored...um...4 or 5 rooms, maybe?). I have a feeling that, when the scores come out, you might be surprised on how close it actually was (in terms of advancing).

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:22 am 
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Mouse wrote:
How did everyone do in the shadow room. That was a tuff fight. I almost took out my playtest group in that room.


We were exceedingly careful in that area. The thief (my character) DID have to withdraw from combat because of his significant ability score drop. But, that room wasn't too bad for us.

Cool encounter though...particularly being grabbed from below while the shadows drained you...

I can see the potential for that encounter to get nasty very quickly.


In the final round, we had the most trouble with the purple worm.

In the 2nd round, we had the most trouble in the 1st room. We kept chasing that stupid dragon from platform to platform, setting off exploding plant-creatures. Not only did it eek time away from us (I think we spent an hour and a half there), but it was REALLY infuriating. I can see where having the ranger would have come in handy there.

What about the final encounter in round 3? Did any team get to start slugging that out? Speaking of the final encounter...It seemed as though there was a greater likelihood of reaching the last room in each round (as opposed to previous years). If that was intentionally written that way...I like it. Keep that up. It's much more satisfying and climactic.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:25 am 
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Hail and well met everyone. I was a member of Masters of the Pwniverse. Even though we only made it to Round II our team had a great time and are looking forward to next year. Not to mention the printed module so we can see what we missed this year.

A couple of notes. We went with Corebrin, Tanlew, Rootli and Thoromir. Round I went pretty well up to the fight with the druid. We burned all of our heal spells and berries to get everyone standing after that encounter.

After discovering the proper way to lay out the tarot cards, we read too much into the puzzle and tried reversing some of the cards. (turning around weakness so it represented strength, etc.) Well that gave Corebrin a jolt so we learned from that mistake. (That will teach pesky adventurers to think!!)

We solved the two key puzzles rather quickly. (kudos to our first round DM for enhancing the atmosphere in the arrow maze room. Even when I was doing the right thing he had me convinced a couple of times that my guy was about to die)

In the final room we lucked out immensely and managed to drop the undead with only one death.

Round 2:
1 minute into the session our rogue failed a couple of checks and got hit by one of the exploding Con bomb plants. About halfway into the room the dragon attacked and we spent the next few rounds trying to scale one of the platforms to try and rise above the fog.

Well...we discovered that Tanlew needs to take some weightlifting classes. We could not for the life of us get her up the 5' platform. We ended up having her just run the gauntlet to meet everyone else near the exit of the room.

At this point we were worried that we were going to expend all of our resources in combatting the dragon. Choosing discretion as the better part of valor, we 'bravely' fled the chamber, screaming for our lives. We found some of the clay tokens (did they come in handy later on?) and then engaged the Hedges who say "SMASH!" instead of "NI!". (and smash poor Thoromir they did. Thank the gods for the oil of resurrection.)

In the next room it took us two tries but we managed to flip the orb around so that it illuminated the tower staircase. At this point our incredible talent for rolling 1's caught up with us and I think we managed to set off every single trap on the stairs.

First Corebrin learned what it was like to become man's best friend. Then came the locust storms. While trying to get good attack angles we kept setting off more of the panels. After failing a player Wisdom check, Tanlew's player came up with the not so brilliant idea to run up the stairs, hoping to bottleneck all of the locusts in one area so we could finish them with our scant remaining AoE spells.

Well, thanks to my...I mean Tanlew's tactical blunder, we set off the mantis earlier than we would have preferred. Through some amazing rolls and the selfless sacrifice of Rootli getting the mantis' attention, we managed to destroy the foul insect. At this point we were pressed for time and discovered a secret passage leading upstairs. It's my understanding that we probably missed some other secrets in this room but our Skill Check Curse surfaced again and we found nothing. We ran out of time just as we peeked up the stairs and saw the mystery dude in the bell. I'm really curious how much further the module went at that point.

We felt pretty good about the combat, our tactical blunders aside so the fact that we didn't advance makes us think we missed a lot of secrets and puzzles along the way. If anyone can enlighten us, I'd love to hear what we messed up/missed.

In closing I'd like to again thank Goodman Games on behalf of my team for putting together a fun and challenging tournament. Aside from the timeslot snafu for our second round start, we had a fantastic time.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:31 am 
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fathead wrote:
eleran wrote:
All in all it looks like we need to step our game up for next year. I know a couple of things I would do different, but thats all 20-20 hindsight.


Were you the alternate that replaced Monte's team in round 2?

How far did you get in round 1? What did you think you would have done differently, in retrospect?

After we played round 1, I was sure that we didn't advance (we had a character death and didn't finish the last encounter). In round 2, I didn't think that we made it very far (we explored...um...4 or 5 rooms, maybe?). I have a feeling that, when the scores come out, you might be surprised on how close it actually was (in terms of advancing).


Indeed we did get to fill in for Monte's team in rd 2. In the 1st rd we made it all the way to the final room with all 4 characters intact. We had the cold-iron sword, the special shield and armor from the orb room. So, I am guessing we had all the right equipment to take him down, but we just didnt have the hit points.

We went in thru the Armory spore room (ugh). That place was just a nightmare. We did well against the blob outside the library entrance, we didnt do too bad against the gobbo and rat in the library either. I think in retrospect what we should have done was take less time making decisions. For instance in the library we were faced by the door in the middle and the portals to either side. Rather than just saying, hey we gotta go thru there, we had to debate the merits of going thru the portals to unknown places or tracing our steps back and searchign for secret doors or another way thru. Once we went thru the portals we handled everything pretty well. We might have asked for too many clues from the magic mouth, but we got thru that with only 1 zap. Don't even get me started about that because we know at least one other group "solved" it without resorting to clues, but the DM allowed them thru with the wrong solution.

Our group BTW was the Adept, Warrior, Expert and Guard. We didnt take the mage because we figured he would be almost as equally useless if the group only advanced to 1st or 2nd level between rounds. Boy, did we regret in the 2nd round. LOL


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:43 am 
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eleran wrote:
Indeed we did get to fill in for Monte's team in rd 2. In the 1st rd we made it all the way to the final room with all 4 characters intact. We had the cold-iron sword, the special shield and armor from the orb room. So, I am guessing we had all the right equipment to take him down, but we just didnt have the hit points.

We went in thru the Armory spore room (ugh). That place was just a nightmare. We did well against the blob outside the library entrance, we didnt do too bad against the gobbo and rat in the library either. I think in retrospect what we should have done was take less time making decisions. For instance in the library we were faced by the door in the middle and the portals to either side. Rather than just saying, hey we gotta go thru there, we had to debate the merits of going thru the portals to unknown places or tracing our steps back and searchign for secret doors or another way thru. Once we went thru the portals we handled everything pretty well. We might have asked for too many clues from the magic mouth, but we got thru that with only 1 zap. Don't even get me started about that because we know at least one other group "solved" it without resorting to clues, but the DM allowed them thru with the wrong solution.


Sounds like you guys did pretty well in round 1. I'd be willing to bet that it came down to point deductions...there was probably only couple hundred or so points seperating some of the teams that advanced from those that didn't.

So...did you lose any PCs in the final encounter? We had one of our PCs die in that room. As I mentioned earlier, we were in pretty bad shape when we entered. The only thing that saved us is that we ran out of time.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:54 am 
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SgtPepper76 wrote:
In the final room we lucked out immensely and managed to drop the undead with only one death.


You did well then. Not every team that advanced was able to defeat him.

In the 2nd round, I can see a few things that would have given you some point deductions - fleeing the 1st encounter (no points for defeating him), PC death, and setting off traps. I'm not sure how much further the other teams were able to get, but I think our group only made it to one additional room past what you described.

I'd be interested to hear more about the 2nd round from other teams as well.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:57 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:58 pm
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Location: Homer, NY
I am not certain whether it counted as a TPK or out of time in the last room in rd 1. Our last PC dropped unconcious as time was called. Before time was called no one had died.


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