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 Post subject: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:40 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:49 am
Posts: 7
So I began running a new Castle Whiterock campaign last night... began with 51.5 "Sinister Secret..." then will merge over to Castle Whiterock proper. I limited my players to Core material only for character generation, with the caveat that prestige classes or alternate class variants be found in-game during play. All began at 1st level...

Elf Cleric of Aristemis (High Dex/Longbow user)
Dwarf Ranger (Light armor+shield/Waraxe)
Human Conjurer specialist
Human Rogue (Twin short swords)

Party looked good, until they hit the first room of "Sinister Secret..."



>>>SPOILERS AHEADS<<<








The 3 skeletons that drop out of the ceiling did 'em in!! In the surprise round, all 3 hit and dropped the rogue (who removed the skull, triggering the trap.) The dwarf couldn't hit their 19 AC... the elf could hit 'em with his bow, but the DR/5 meant he hardly did any damage... the Conjurer 'Greased' 'em once, but at 1st level its only for a round. The skeletons then dropped the dwarf. Elf failed on a turn attempt... Conjurer did some damage with an 'Acid Splash.' They pound the elf, who flees the room with the Conjurer on his heels... game over.

So, in essence, I reboot the campaign and put the PCs back in position when the skeletons drop. I do not give the monsters a surprise round, instead going to raw initiative. I also drop their shields (lowering AC to 17) but giving them a second claw attack. The PCs faired much better this time, actually dropping one and turning the remaining two (which they then pound to bonemeal!)

They spend some time pouding on a false door (fully alerting the monsters waiting in the next room) before finding the secret door and moving on. Sil'hel give 'em a round of javelins, doing minor damage, then they flee to the gears/cogs room and set the doorway trap... which the elven cleric runs right into! Three readied javelins drop the cleric... who bleeds out before his party can handle the threat and get to him.

Then begins the discussion regarding the power-level of this module (and perhaps the entire campaign!) We eventually decide to make everyone level 2 (as there are only 4 of 'em) in the hopes that evens things out a bit.

Has anyone else encountered a disparity in power-level like this? Is the mod 51.5 over-powered? Does the Castle Whiterock adventure follow a similar power-curve, or is it scaled down/up compared to the module?

Joe Wolf, DM
Houston, TX


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 Post subject: Re: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:14 am 
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Cold-Hearted Immortal

Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2004 6:02 am
Posts: 1788
Location: On the run.
Ouch. I'm so sorry to hear this, Wolf.

This is the first time I've read of this particular section of the adventure being so lethal – most often folks die by drowning in the final encounter (and then, when their allies jump in to help, they get picked off too). Was the cleric not able to turn/rebuke?

//H

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 Post subject: Re: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:15 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 6:47 pm
Posts: 48
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Sometimes this happens, particularly at 1st level. I believe this is the reason that many players prefer to skip level 1 entirely. There isn't a lot of spare room for noobs, resource-wise, so little bumps in the statistical curve can tip the game over.

One way I get around this is by giving 1st level characters better potential die rolls for stats (4d6, reroll 1s, drop the lowest, then usually a d20 roll at the end to potentially replace a low/average result). This also serves to give the player incentive to keep their new superhero alive!

Don't feel too bad though. My current campaign started with the entire party getting wiped out by a single random ogre encounter. Well, except the druid, who survived and wound up spending some quality time as the ogre's "girlfriend".

I also seem to recall a night where as a player I ended up rolling up 4 new characters for myself due to constantly lethal encounters.


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 Post subject: Re: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:08 pm 
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Cold-Hearted Immortal
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:42 am
Posts: 2265
Location: Chicago suburbs
TPK in the first room? :shock: Congrats on running the shortest Whiterock campain in DCC history! :P

Did you have 'em roll up new characters and start over right away?

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DCC RPG playtester 2011, C&C playtester 2003,T&T since 2003,
ADRP Since 1993, OD&D player since 1975

"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
-- Gary Gygax
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!"
-- Dave Arneson


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 Post subject: Re: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:19 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:14 am
Posts: 81
The other thing I noticed is that you had a relatively 'small' party (only 4 PC Level worth instead of the 6-12 recommanded) that might also be a factor in this case that could explain a TPK.

Maybe dropping the number of monster by 33% might help prevent an early TPK.


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 Post subject: Re: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:17 pm 
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Steely-Eyed Heathen-Slayer
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Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:23 am
Posts: 611
Location: Auburndale, FL
When I ran it all but one PC died in the final encounter. I remember the vine thing being the toughest challenge for the players leading up to the end. I had to award some creative thinking by one player who cast grease on a grappled comrade. Once he was grabbed he didn't have a chance. Anyway I liked the grease idea so much that I rolled some dice and said that the spell worked perfectly and the gnome was dropped by the vine that was squeezing the life out of him. I think this near death experience made him extra cautious and he was the lone survivor in the end.

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 Post subject: Re: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:28 am 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:32 pm
Posts: 73
Early 3.5 is too lethal. It ended most of my campaigns with TPKs.

In my games I usually allow my 100%/75%/50% rule for starting HP. 100% at first level (max hp), 75% at level 2 if they roll low (example they would get 6 on a D8, 8 on d10, etc), 50% at level 3 (4 on d8, etc). After that what they roll they keep.

Also I give them roughly 375gp in loot. For martial types it usually a masterwork weapon and a single Potion of CLW. For arcane casters its a half charged Magic Missile wand. Clerics get a half charged CLW wand, etc.

Both of these have helped my group survive the unlucky rolls in 3.5. I still use these for Pathfinder rules too. :)

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 Post subject: Re: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:46 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:49 am
Posts: 7
I suppose I could have added additional detail, but wanted to avoid an epic post...

- PCs used a 34-point "buy" for character generation
- Players are very experienced, even if Ilimited their selection to Core material only
- Max hit points at first level and then 1/2+1 rule (Living Greyhawk, anyone?) after that

I "rebooted" the campaign, having them use the same characters they originally generated and we re-ran the fight (sans surprise round) which they did get through. The first time the cleric couldn't turn the skeletons (bad dice rolls) before they dropped two PCs... second fight, he had two cowering.

My solution has been to have all PCs raise their level to 2... and we'll see how it goes!


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 Post subject: Re: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:26 pm 
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Cold-Hearted Immortal

Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
Posts: 2699
Location: San Jose, CA
This is the sinister new Goodman Games marketing strategy: we'll sell you 700 pages but you're gonna die in the first 6. :)

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 Post subject: Re: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:19 pm 
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Steely-Eyed Heathen-Slayer
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Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:23 am
Posts: 611
Location: Auburndale, FL
goodmangames wrote:
This is the sinister new Goodman Games marketing strategy: we'll sell you 700 pages but you're gonna die in the first 6. :)


Wow that would take around 116 characters to complete CWR at one death per 6 pages. :lol:
Has anyone kept a body count of dead PC's in a CWR campaign? If so what was the final number?

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"When creating your character,choose an ethical system that can justify nearly any fit of temper, greed, cowardice, or vindictiveness, for example, Chaotic Violent..."

THE PROTOCOLS, ADVANCED PROTOCOL #10


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 Post subject: Re: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:35 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:49 am
Posts: 7
My body count is only up to 3... but then, we've only played once!! :twisted:

However, I track my body count on the dice box my wife made for me...

Image

Image

The gold stars on the left represent PCs... the silver stars on the right are for familiars/animal companions!!


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 Post subject: Re: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:55 am 
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Steely-Eyed Heathen-Slayer
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Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:23 am
Posts: 611
Location: Auburndale, FL
:lol:

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"When creating your character,choose an ethical system that can justify nearly any fit of temper, greed, cowardice, or vindictiveness, for example, Chaotic Violent..."

THE PROTOCOLS, ADVANCED PROTOCOL #10


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 Post subject: Re: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:00 am 
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Cold-Hearted Immortal
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Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:46 pm
Posts: 2336
Location: Left Coast, USA
It's Whiterock, man! You're going to need a bigger box!

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 Post subject: Re: New CWR Campaign started... TPK first room!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:12 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:49 am
Posts: 7
GnomeBoy wrote:
It's Whiterock, man! You're going to need a bigger box!



Hahaha! Well, I do have 3 more sides!! :twisted:


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