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Merric Blackman
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Sarah, who had played in the second game with me, felt that it was time that we took on one of the bigger monsters. In fact, she thought the Dracolich - the biggest mini in the box - would be a fair target. Having just played two relatively easy games, we happily agreed. After the usual shuffle of players as some people dropped out and new players came in, we had another group of five.

Thankfully, no-one said, "Let's hunt some Dracolich", but I know they were thinking it.

This time around, I got to play the Human Rogue.

After a very short amount of time, we were in the dungeon, and exploring the surrounding corridors. I was attacked by a spider, the Wizard was attacked by a Ghoul... yes, we were back in Castle Ravenloft!



The rogue is quite an interesting character: he works best when he's paired with another melee character so he can take full advantage of his backstabbing abilities. 2 damage from an at-will if there's another hero adjacent is a massive advantage in the game.

However, the rogue is also somewhat squishy. He's tougher than the wizard, but not by much, and if the monsters gang up on him, he can really take a lot of damage quickly.

Encounter cards were also wearing our group down... when one of them caused me to place two monster on the latest tile, both which started gnawing us (rats and ghoul), we found out hit points reducing quickly. I was suddenly on 1 hit point, and we weren't even half-way towards the Dracolich yet! Strahd's Crypt had turned out to be dangerous tile that its name implied!

(For these games, we tended to use the HP tokens as damage tokens rather than having a store that we removed).



My friends saved me from dying, but the monsters and encounters kept coming and wearing our hit points down. A wraith attacked our cleric, sending him periously close to death, and a wolf appeared on the edge of the map and started tracking our scent.

The monsters were dangerous, but so were the encounter cards, perhaps even more so than the monsters. When we split up, we got hit by the cards that hurt split-up parties. When we gathered on one tile, green slime dropped from the ceiling and tried to dissolve us (and did get rid of one of our rare magic items).



It really didn't help that our dwarven cleric spent a lot of time slowed or immobilized so he couldn't treat our wounds. One turn, we were all slowed. Then we were ambushed... one of the rare times an encounter had no effect on us: we were all slowed already, so the ambush couldn't make us more slowed!

We'd used our first healing surge already, and then the fighter discovered a blazing skeleton which knocked him down to 0 hit points (and hurt the Wizard and me). The dwarf just couldn't run fast enough to heal the fighter, so on his next turn we'd lose the last of our healing surges.

Mick sent his ranger running away from the rest of us, looking for help. He found help, but not of the sort we needed: a Dracolich! We now had help dying even more swiftly.

Thanks to the layout of the dungeon, we placed the laboratory with the Dracolich's phylactery close by to our characters. All we needed to do was kill the skeleton and we could go and destroy the phylactery and recover 10 hp.

That is, if Mick could survive the Dracolich's onslaught.



As it turned out, he couldn't. One turn of it? Yes. Unfortunately, the dracolich, as with all major villains in the game, activates after every player's turn. Oh, and the new monster on the Laboratory tile was another blazing skeleton, so both skeletons attacked us all and knocked the wizard down.

Sarah's fighter then spent the last healing surge and stood up, moving next to the Dracolich and attacking. The dracolich slew Mick, and with the Wizard now having to take his turn, on 0 hp and with no healing surges left, we had lost the game.



This game only took us 40 minutes to play, and ended up in a slaughter. We were effectively down to no healing surges when the Dracolich was placed, and the game ended with two characters on 0 hp. The Dracolich made sure of it, but I don't think we would have survived long even without it!

The game really hated us this time around, but it was easy compared to what was to come in the final game of the night...
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Kevin Outlaw
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Another good report.

Two things:

First of all, I have actually argued FOR the artwork on the cards and tiles, but I do think the jigsaw pieces create some unsightly situations. In your first picture, I can see two coffins that are partially missing because the jigsaw line cuts across them. When other tiles are placed next to those coffins, it will look even worse. Not a deal breaker, but certainly something I think the design team should have paid more attention to.

Second - Am I right in thinking the Dracolich is considered to fill nine sqaures (being centred on the middle one) and therefore it is possible to have all five heroes adjacent to him on each edge (including diagronals)? And when he moves, does that mean you base his movement based on the centre square of the nine, or when moving to a new tile do you have to ensure all nine squares he stands on are in the new tile?

By comparison, how many tiles does the zombie dragon take up? Is it only one?

Sorry for the questions, and thanks again for taking the time to post your stories.
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Team Ski
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Great session report! Once again, thanks for taking the time to write it up!

-Ski
 
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I guess its just me but I can live with the puzzle pieces. I would love to see some door standies in the future.
 
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Merric Blackman
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RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
Am I right in thinking the Dracolich is considered to fill nine sqaures (being centred on the middle one) and therefore it is possible to have all five heroes adjacent to him on each edge (including diagronals)? And when he moves, does that mean you base his movement based on the centre square of the nine, or when moving to a new tile do you have to ensure all nine squares he stands on are in the new tile?


3x3. As I recall, it's the centre square that determines what tile he's on, and he can overlap walls as long as the centre square is free. I think his rules are on his monster card.

Quote:
By comparison, how many tiles does the zombie dragon take up? Is it only one?


2x2, same as the golem.

Cheers,
Merric
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I am wondering, what is the general extra rule for this scenario? It seems it was everything leading up to the dracolich that already put you in a bad spot, and if I am not mistaken, that wasn't different in any way except for some bad luck compared to every other scenario?
 
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Merric Blackman
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It's not just you - the utility of the puzzle pieces is a chief feature of why this game works so well. They fit together well, and if one is knocked the entire dungeon doesn't fall apart (as can happen with non-interlocking tiles).

When playing the game, I'm not caring about how some of the coffins aren't quite perfect.

However, the tiles don't seem to be coated in the same manner as the D&D Dungeon Tiles and Descent tiles. I doubt you could use a dry erase marker on them without staining them permanently. As a result, I'm not entirely sure how durable they are. Perhaps Mike or Peter could comment if they read this post.

Cheers,
Merric
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Merric Blackman
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Infyra wrote:
I am wondering, what is the general extra rule for this scenario? It seems it was everything leading up to the dracolich that already put you in a bad spot, and if I am not mistaken, that wasn't different in any way except for some bad luck compared to every other scenario?


It was bad luck leading up to it.

The special rules were:
* Put magic circle (dracolich) tile in the 9-12th tile in the stack.
* When drawn, place the laboratory 4 tiles away and place the phylactery in it.
* The phylactery can be destroyed by an attack; when it is destroyed, Gravestorm takes 10 damage. He has 20 hp in all!

Some scenario change the play of the regular game quite a bit; others just change the end villain/win condition. You don't have to relearn the entire game each time you play, but the scenarios get more complicated as you move through the book. This was scenario #6.

Cheers,
Merric
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Mr G
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Great stuff. Another excellent report.

Regards,

Fentum
 
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Matthew Watson
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necroloid123 wrote:
I guess its just me but I can live with the puzzle pieces. I would love to see some door standies in the future.


I'm going to use some of my Descent stuff with this, I think.
 
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Mike Mearls
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Peter should know for sure about the coating on the tiles. I'll point this thread out to him if he doesn't notice it on his own.
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Peter Lee
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As opposed to the standard Dungeon Tile product, we wanted a smooth finish on the tiles to make it easier for people to read the encounter tiles from all angles. I don't remember if it's chemically different from the dungeon tile finish.

I tried out a few dry erase pens on some of the tile sheet edges and I was able to erase it after a minute, but I don't know what would happen if you let it sit for a long time. Also, if you accidentally write on the side of the tile, you won't be able to erase that.

So -- it worked for me, but I can't promise that will be the case for all pens, and I can't promise you'll be able to erase it if you let it sit. It was never a request to have these tiles be fry-erase erasable, but that doesn't mean they aren't dry-erase erasable. Try at your own risk, and I recommend testing on some of the remaining tile sheet after punching apart all the pieces.
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MerricB wrote:
It's not just you - the utility of the puzzle pieces is a chief feature of why this game works so well. They fit together well, and if one is knocked the entire dungeon doesn't fall apart (as can happen with non-interlocking tiles).

When playing the game, I'm not caring about how some of the coffins aren't quite perfect.

However, the tiles don't seem to be coated in the same manner as the D&D Dungeon Tiles and Descent tiles. I doubt you could use a dry erase marker on them without staining them permanently. As a result, I'm not entirely sure how durable they are. Perhaps Mike or Peter could comment if they read this post.

Cheers,
Merric


Don't get me wrong - I rather have the jigsaw edges like in Space Hulk than the square tiles that just rest next to each other and can be knocked around (like in Claustrophobia); I just thing the designers could have adjusted the images on the boards to make sure things didn't get "cut" by the jigsaw edges. As of this moment, it is the ONLY thing about this game that I think is below par - and if that's my biggest complaint I don't think WotC will have to worry about me dropping fat loads of cash on these products.

(Thanks for answering my questions, by the way.)
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MerricB wrote:
As I recall, it's the centre square that determines what tile he's on


Actually, he's on all of them:
Castle Ravenloft Rules, P8 wrote:
If a creature with a base larger than one square is on more than one tile, it counts as being on all the tiles that the base is on.


The Rogue only has a 14 AC? She should not be as easy to hit as the Wizard. Or maybe this is why I don't like 4th ed?
 
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RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
MerricB wrote:
It's not just you - the utility of the puzzle pieces is a chief feature of why this game works so well. They fit together well, and if one is knocked the entire dungeon doesn't fall apart (as can happen with non-interlocking tiles).

When playing the game, I'm not caring about how some of the coffins aren't quite perfect.

However, the tiles don't seem to be coated in the same manner as the D&D Dungeon Tiles and Descent tiles. I doubt you could use a dry erase marker on them without staining them permanently. As a result, I'm not entirely sure how durable they are. Perhaps Mike or Peter could comment if they read this post.

Cheers,
Merric


Don't get me wrong - I rather have the jigsaw edges like in Space Hulk than the square tiles that just rest next to each other and can be knocked around (like in Claustrophobia); I just thing the designers could have adjusted the images on the boards to make sure things didn't get "cut" by the jigsaw edges. As of this moment, it is the ONLY thing about this game that I think is below par - and if that's my biggest complaint I don't think WotC will have to worry about me dropping fat loads of cash on these products.

(Thanks for answering my questions, by the way.)


I think you mean

"I don't think WotC will have to worry about me NOT dropping fat loads of cash on these products."

I know thats the case for me
 
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Brian Engard
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pseudotheist wrote:

The Rogue only has a 14 AC? She should not be as easy to hit as the Wizard. Or maybe this is why I don't like 4th ed?


In 4e, the rogue is a striker class, meaning high offense at the cost of low defense. Rogues in D&D can deal huge amounts of damage, but they're pretty squishy. That said, a rogue wearing leather armor in 4e can typically expect to have an AC of at least 16 in D&D, so 14 seems a little on the low side. I've noticed, however, that a lot of the characters have AC lower than they would in D&D. The fighter, for example, has an AC of 17 (IIRC), while in D&D that would likely be closer to 19 or 20.

Different systems, different numbers I guess.
 
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Zelgadas wrote:
pseudotheist wrote:

The Rogue only has a 14 AC? She should not be as easy to hit as the Wizard. Or maybe this is why I don't like 4th ed?


In 4e, the rogue is a striker class, meaning high offense at the cost of low defense. Rogues in D&D can deal huge amounts of damage, but they're pretty squishy. That said, a rogue wearing leather armor in 4e can typically expect to have an AC of at least 16 in D&D, so 14 seems a little on the low side. I've noticed, however, that a lot of the characters have AC lower than they would in D&D. The fighter, for example, has an AC of 17 (IIRC), while in D&D that would likely be closer to 19 or 20.

Different systems, different numbers I guess.


I haven't played Castle Ravenloft yet, but I suspect this is because in D&D there there are a lot more dice modifiers applied on each fight for combat advantage and things like that, which if Ravenloft removed to simplify game play, would mean base AC would have to be lowered to compensate.
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morpheus133 wrote:
Zelgadas wrote:
pseudotheist wrote:

The Rogue only has a 14 AC? She should not be as easy to hit as the Wizard. Or maybe this is why I don't like 4th ed?


In 4e, the rogue is a striker class, meaning high offense at the cost of low defense. Rogues in D&D can deal huge amounts of damage, but they're pretty squishy. That said, a rogue wearing leather armor in 4e can typically expect to have an AC of at least 16 in D&D, so 14 seems a little on the low side. I've noticed, however, that a lot of the characters have AC lower than they would in D&D. The fighter, for example, has an AC of 17 (IIRC), while in D&D that would likely be closer to 19 or 20.

Different systems, different numbers I guess.


I haven't played Castle Ravenloft yet, but I suspect this is because in D&D there there are a lot more dice modifiers applied on each fight for combat advantage and things like that, which if Ravenloft removed to simplify game play, would mean base AC would have to be lowered to compensate.


This is probably exactly right.
 
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pseudotheist wrote:

The Rogue only has a 14 AC? She should not be as easy to hit as the Wizard. Or maybe this is why I don't like 4th ed?


In a 4e game, the Rogue would want to hang out near the Fighter (or some other defender) to offset that squishiness with the Fighter's marking ability. He shouts at the monsters, making it hard for them to ignore him.

The Ravenloft fighter gives +2 AC to all allies on his tile (maybe +1.. all these camera phone pics are hard to read). Seems like it would be good tactics to pair the Rogue and the Fighter up so the Rogue has almost the same AC as the fighter and also does more damage. D&D is a team game. Teams that work together do better.


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Chris Vanderzee
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I don't want to be pushy, but game 4 please?
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Merric Blackman
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Chrisv5323 wrote:
I don't want to be pushy, but game 4 please?


Sorry. I've been battling a rather nasty cold this week, and it hasn't left me with the energy for doing a report worthy of the game. I've got the pictures uploaded, so I hope it won't be far away.

Cheers,
Merric
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