There was a full compliment of 6 players for session 3, including 3 new characters, one of which had never played any sort of tabletop RPG before!
The party for this session was: Shamos Ulf Tiny Tracy Alan (new recruit) Sebastian (new recruit) Pel (new recruit AND new player)
Like every session, it begins with the party passing through the gates of Castle Torrog and descending into the vale below. As is usual they spied activity on the roof at the old damaged tower.
What will they do this time I wonder?
This time with new characters along, they decided to explore the tower again. Initially the party sneaked up and got quite close. But every party contains its blundering oaf and this one is no different. So the goblin lookout spotted them, blew his horn and ran down the stairs in the tower, all along shouting for reinforcements. The 2 barbarians in party decided to rush the tower doors hoping and bottle-neck the goblins at the entrance who would be trying to charge out.
A reasonable strategy, but also a risky one as it potentially puts the 2 barbarians into a bottleneck situation themselves- which is what happened here.
After the 2 barbarians engaged the goblins who were trying to get out the tower, they were peppered with arrows from other goblins further back from the bottle-neck (who had nothing else to fire at). The rest of the party tried to help the barbarians by returning fire, but did so with a penalty as the goblins were all inside the tower.
In the meantime, Pel the thief (new recruit and new player) scouted the base of the tower, looking for another way in.
A tower like this is a defensive position, so there is no easy access. However, it is a damaged old tower and a massive vertical crack runs from the first floor to the top floor at the north-western side, widening as it rises.
Pel finds the vertical crack and climbs up to a point where he can squeeze in on the first floor. Now Pel is able to sneak downstairs to the back of the bottle-necked goblins. His successful sneak attack fells a goblin, unfortunately the goblins compatriot gets a natural 20 on his PERCEPTION roll to realize this is happening and immediately spots Pel.
Isolated and without aid, it takes a round or two before Pel is inevitably reduced to zero hit points.
Although by that time it only takes about 3 more rounds for the goblins to finally be defeated. About 3 party member were reduced to 0 during the fight. They search the goblin bodies and luckily a few of them had platinum pieces horded away. They search the old damaged tower AGAIN. They find nothing.
This battle at the tower was essentially a waste of time and possibly resources too.
At least they got some xp for the battle, right?. Well, since xp for kills is only worth 10% of its normal value, it means each character got 8.3 xp each!
Maybe, just maybe it's starting to dawn on them that they shouldn't think of this as a 'typical' D&D campaign?
I wonder other times the tower will lure in players?
Anyway the party take a long rest and then: Onward to the undead dungeon.
Returning to a dungeon triggers an random encounter roll.
Yep, the first random encounter of the campaign, an ambush by 7 zombies.
I bide my time until an appropriate 'ambush' situation presents itself.
I don't have to wait too long: The first room they want to explore in this session has a locked door into it and a single file corridor leading up to it.
So the thief shuffles to the front, leaving the sorcerer alone at the back of the corridor...
You know what's coming.
4 zombies attack the sorcerer, luckily he has AC 17. So this will keep him alive for a while. But the sorcerer is blocking the way for a fighter to come to his aid and must decide whether to provoke attacks of opportunity to move out of the way. Meanwhile at the other end, the thief fails to pick the lock on the steel-reinforced door.
Once a thief has failed to pick a lock, they can't try again. There are several reasons for this, but I won't go into them here.
This means that in order to get past the door, another character must pick the lock, or another method must be employed to open it.
There appeared to be consensus that getting through the door is good idea, because it would give them a space to retreat into and then confront the zombies.
Provided the room is empty of course.
Ulf the barbarian hacked at the door with his axe and with one mighty blow, the door swung open.
Behind the door lurk 2 ghasts. Much worse then zombies. Whoops...... again!
Ghasts are like ghouls, but with more hit points and much smellier.
At the start of a character's action, any character close to a ghast must make a saving throw or be afflicted by the stench of a ghast. The stench of a ghast inflicts the condition 'Poisoned' on a character: In addition to any other affects a poison might have, the character has disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws. Pretty nasty.
But let's not forget that the claws of a ghast can inflict the condition 'paralysis'. The condition of paralysis basically makes the victim automatically fail all Strength and Dexterity based saving throws and all attacks against them have 'advantage'. Oh what was that final thing paralysis does....? Oh yes; any attacks that do hit a paralyzed character are automatically CRITICAL HITS that cause DOUBLE DAMAGE.
So anyway Ulf, like any barbarian worth his salt has unhesitatingly charged into the room with the 2 ghasts... and is promptly paralyzed. Ulf is starting to look nervous.
Barbarians have an armour class that can generally be described as 'naff', but they do have amazing endurance. When 'raging', a barbarian takes half damage from all mundane bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage sources and that is rounded down too. This means that a 5 is rounded down to 2 points of damage. Ulf has 14 hit points at level 1, that means that when he 'rages', it takes at least 28 points of normal to put him at 0, at level 1!
However, I'm not sure if he can maintain a 'rage' whilst paralyzed. Even if he can, being paralyzed means he takes double damage and loses the advantage of it. It could go bad for him.
Luckily, other party members step in to distract the ghasts, allowing Ulf to recover and mete out massive damage.
More on this in another journal.
One notable moment during the fight was when Alan got affected by the ghast's stench. Alan scoffed at the disadvantage penalty and cast a spell - since it did not require a roll to do so. So he went and cast 'Poison Spray'...
Two interesting facts about ghast stats relating to poison, they are:
Damage Immunities: Poison.
Condition Immunities: Poisoned.
One of the other characters pointed out that casting a poison spell at a creature that's a source of poison.
Alan did not look amused.
Eventually the party manage to defeat everything after taking some heavy hits.
One of the players comment that these seemed quite hard encounters for beginning players.
They're almost getting it... they just need to.... join the... dots!
After this, it is decided that the they party must return to Castle Tarrog. Even though there's a good 20 mins of playtime left, there's a couple of random encounter rolls that have to be made on the return trip.So the party returned to safety and tallied up the session's rewards. They got some loot from the goblins, minimal xp from killing monsters and explore ONE room in the dungeon. They got about 80 xp for the session.
This was described as pitiful by one of the players.
Still, perhaps they'll realise that they shouldn't waste their time on pointless fights.