Saturday, February 7, 2015

Friday Gaming Recap, Speed Grapher Edition!

No pics, unfortunately, because I was too busy running the action!

This was the group's first foray at third level, having blasted through second level with one high-XP session.  The gaps widen between XP benchmarks in 5E, so they'll be at third level for several sessions.

The group returned to Dewalt Manor, where they were searching for the kidnapped angel Meloniel.  In an underground complex they discovered a sect of the Larvate Sublimity (the masked rulers of Grimfest) who were combining the blood of the tarrasque with the captured angel's blood to make even more mutative concoctions.  Despite being almost completely exhausted of spells the group went up against a group of opponents that were way out of their league but managed to handily defeat them instead.  What's weird is that they had real trouble with a CR 2 encounter  featuring two gargoyles earlier.  What made the difference?  Easy, and one of the strange things I've noticed about 5E...

There are a lot of low-CR opponents (such as gargoyles or will-o-wisps) that have damage resistance against non-magical weapons, but the treasure tables in the DMG don't give out magical weapons very often, favoring one-shot potions and scrolls instead.  So the group was struggling doing half damage against CR 2 monsters, except for the cleric and paladin who had access to spells or class abilities that turned their normal weapons to magic.

On the other hand, spells that target saving throws seem to be highly effective against powerful monsters, because saving throws don't seem to scale all that much because monsters lack proficiency bonuses.  So in the final battle there were five humanoids, all viable targets for low-level save-or-fail spells and non-magical attacks, despite there being almost 3,000 XP in the room.  Make sense?

What is working is the juggling of ten players into groups of six.  We had a last minute cancellation by one player who was scheduled for the evening and another was able to take her place.  The different permutations of the party create some interesting dynamics, and keep people from getting too much into a rut when it comes to their role in the group.  A cleric, for example, might move from a behind-the-group support character to a front-line tank depending on the composition of the party.

In the end, the angel was rescued and a possibly re-occurring villain introduced, so it was all good!

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