Not all games end well. I suppose that this is just a fact of gaming. Everyone enjoys a good game, but the one who gets blamed when a game goes badly is the DM.
The party has been macho in the past. They crushed the Moathouse in just a few short hours, they defeated the brigands who were in charge of protecting it in 3 rounds, in their own rights, this party is a bunch of super-heroes who did not act heroic when the time came to prove their mantle . . . or maybe it really was just my fault. I am frustrated.
The party made their way to Nulb, running into a random encounter of a bunch of Bugbears, which turned out to be the only rewarding combat of the game. Later they ran into bandits but they squished them very quickly.
They set up shop in Nulb, with plans to move any large quantities of cash over to Hommlet, as it is a safer base but just too far away to be utilized full-time. They made their way to the temple itself, and promptly failed the saving throw for the main gate. I had prepped as much as I could for last session, however that game was canceled because I was down 2 players, and we picked it up this game. I did as much prep as I could, however their is just so much that you can do. I focused my prep on best case scenario, they breach the main gate, explore the upper works of the Temple, and as far down as Dungeon Level 1. I had also prepped the tower incase they failed to break down the main door into the temple, which they did.
I had made a change to the tower, they have smashed everything up to this point with no trouble, so I added a gate that would close behind them before the trap would spring. All this would do was spook them and slow down their retreat if they attempted to back out. They also like to draw out their badguys, and since these guys were supposed to be the keepers of the Gate, I wanted them to call the shots and have the advantage.
The trap is simple, but brilliant. The good guys enter the tower, the gate closes behind them and the archers pelt them with arrows. They are fish in a bucket, the only light in the place shines on them! Well, they didn't act as a team. The fighter rushes into the darkness, leaving everyone else to take the archer fire. I let Rydan's attacks with magic missile succeed, even though he could not visually see his enemy. The fighters inside quickly picked the good guy fighter apart. Instead of having the good guys squish my badguys in 3 rounds, it reversed. The badguys quickly killed their leader, and forced a surrender.
Well, needless to say, I didn't prep for that. I had to stop the game because now the bulk of the party are sitting in some dungeon cell in the temple, and the only fighter in the party is dead. GREAT!!!!
Well, now I am stuck. I don't know if it really was my fault, or if it was theirs. I want to say that they got clobbered through bad gaming. They had several options open to them, the fighter could had lifted the gate and the party retreat so that they could rethink their strategy. They could have advanced as a team, the fighter drawing fire while the weaker members used the darkness for their advantage too. But the problem with that logic is that I really didn't give them enough time to think about stuff. This was supposed to be a very hard encounter, but my wife tells me that I didn't even give them a chance, and that I had set them up to fail.
They were 3rd level, my plan was to fight the party with archers to test them. The major characters just wanted to feel them out, and never intended to enter into combat themselves, nor did they. The encounter never strayed from their original plan, and the party fell right in line for what they wanted them to do.
Now the party is in prison, either set for sacrifice or for slavery I don't know yet. I don't know if they are strong enough to get themselves out of the mess that they are in. Shannon, who played the now dead fighter, was able to roll up a new character, this time he qualified for Ranger. I am just at a loss. I don't know if they really were outmatched, if they are still of an appropriate level to be able to complete the tasks that I ask of them, or if it was just a really shitty night.
What level are the other characters out there who have ran this dungeon? Is 3rd level just too damned low? I don't like doing do-overs, but if this is my fault then maybe they are entitled to a do-over?
Monday, January 04, 2010
Ripper's Gaming Sessions
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