Monday, July 15, 2013

Two Men Down

Roderick and Claude the Ranger dropped yesterday at the hands of slime hounds in the catacomb levels below the sewers of Kaladar in my friend Carter's Labyrinth Lord Lands of Ara campaign.  While these were two NPCs, followers of Vivuli the assassin and Uncle Junkle the bard, the loss still hit hard.  The party was a bit stunned, actually, because we completely underestimated the pack of seven dogs that attacked us in the tunnels.

Seven dogs covered in filth and disease didn't exactly strike fear into our hearts after disposing of three green dragons and a half dozen winged Balrogs over the last two sessions.  We did have a string of terrible rolls, including several critical fumbles resulting in dropped weapons, as well as Innominus rolling a 6 for damage on his nightly d30 roll in an area attack that hit all the dogs in the surprise round before combat proper started.

Still, we figured we were going to dispatch these critters handily and I even advised Innominus against blowing a Bless or Prayer spell on the second round because I was sure these things couldn't have many hit points left after they all took 6 damage on the first round.

That all changed in a heartbeat when they started spewing acidic bile at us, scoring a hit on Roderick that did 35 damage!  We were all sitting around silently digesting that tidbit when Carter asked us, so did that kill him?  35 damage?  Did it kill the 5th level thief with 5d6 HP?   Yes, yes it did.
The vicious Arandish Slime Hound

Nothing like a 35 damage breath attack to put the fear of the lord in a bunch of 5th through 7th level Labyrinth Lord characters!  Plus the dogs turned out to have HP in the 30's.

While Roderick and Claude are going to be raised, they are out of commission for two weeks game time - which could well be a year of real life time at the rate we are going - the last 4 of our game sessions have only covered three days in game time I believe and we meet every other week at the soonest.

Playing with the expectations of veteran players is a great way to introduce a little fear into a game.  I don't know if Carter made these slime dogs up or if somebody else did (their breath weapon had a recharge mechanic which makes me think these are someone else's creation - that is just too 4e for Carter) but either way they were an awesome foe because they seemed like something in the 2 to 3 HD range (they were described as normal dogs but covered in slime and disease as they had been living in the sewers) but turned out to be quite a handful indeed!

I am actually thinking about house-ruling the Labyrinth Lord / Old School style "you are out of commission for 2 weeks following a raise - 1 HP - cannot fight or undertake any strenuous activity" Raise Dead into my 4e game.  I have managed to kill a PC quite a few times in that game but then they get raised with no real consequence at all.  2 weeks of game time is simultaneously not that outlandish of a penalty for coming back from the dead, and a real nuisance for a game like mine in which all kinds of stuff is happening outside of the PCs control and will continue to happen during the 2 weeks that a player is out of commission.

Of course the PCs in my 4e game are all experienced time travelers at this point so that might throw a little wrinkle into this :)
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