Some more notes on yesterday's session.
So I use these cheap, knock-off lego copies I got for free in a big bag a long time ago. I think they were removed from the market. They're okay, although they don't either go together or come apart as well as actual LEGOs. Still, free and grey and right there for use. They fit together well enough that we can shape any room we want within reason. They're also low, which is handy, because you have free access to figures within tight confines.
They're not bad, but I need to figure out a way to keep them in place on the map. You see, as minis move around, and as players try to just fit their 1" based mini into that partial hex right along the wall, they get moved. Several times yesterday I noticed that the 3 yard wide tunnel that Vryce was getting backed into had expanded to over 4.5 yards wide, just from millimeters of movement each time a mini was shifted and hit another which hit another. Moveable is nice, but that's too moveable, and people make decisions for their guys based on what they think is their room to maneuver and get hosed when I notice the change and shift the walls back from their original spot.
We did also make a big mistake and mark the edge of the Mystic Mist spell with solid blocks - so often minis fell because they partly overlapped the blocks and were unbalanced. Not good. Next time we'll draw it on.
I need to bring chips or rubber bands or something to status-mark minis - it was getting rough at the end to remember which trolls had lost arms. Mostly they stopped to put them back on, but still, it was getting hard to keep track.
How many trolls died? Maybe 3? I'll have to double check my notes, but I think three got permanently wasted. Maybe only two. Others got burned - many got burned - and one of their rust monsters took a stiff booting. But that's relatively minor. Trolls are tough, and now they're also rich.
Speaking of trolls, they see pretty well in the dark and have excellent noses. How did Dryst sneak by?
I figured, he's invisible, they can see their other enemies clearly (or see the mist clearly from outside), and the battlefield was littered with burning troll bits, alchemist's fire, and the smell of blood and death from the PCs. All of that is pretty distracting, and so none of them noticed that a halfling was sneaking out along the ceiling 15' above their heads all of this was going on.
Balm of Regeneration Trick
One idea my players had to deal with Mungo was:
- beat him to -10xHP so he's down.
- dump a Balm of Regeneration on him.
- Balm heals him 2*whatever HP/second at a cost of 1 FP per second.
- Mungo's FP go to zero and he probably drops unconscious, and it's at least 5 minutes before he can get up, and even then he's at 1/2 Move and Dodge until he rests a lot more.
I basically said, no, that won't work. You can't essentially short-circuit someone's Unkillable and very fast Regeneration and all of that fun stuff via a $900 potion and an odd rules effect. Nevermind applying it takes a long action (Salves are handled in my games like Utility elixers). Had they the time to do it, it may have worked, but Mungo was also an unwilling subject for a long action. He and his buddies weren't going to lay around and let people smooth balm on his wounds.
As I noted, the PCs lost everything except for what Dryst has. This includes, just from memory:
Flaming Broadsword (Thrusting Broadsword with Flaming Weapon)
Gram (dragonslaying sword, also equipped with undead slaying tassels)
Silvery Headband (gives mind shielding vs. mind control powers)
Ring of Protection (+1 to resistance rolls)
Gort's Scale Armor (Fortify +3, Lighten 50%, Fine Dwarf-sized)
Vryce's enchanted mail, plate, and giant spider silk armor
Also a bunch of potions of healing, maybe some spell stones, some money, a gold crown (used by Al as a power item), the manacle of friendship from the flooded prison crazies, and I'm sure lots of little stuff I forgot they found and carried. The monsters down deep also have a copy of the map, if that matters.
So how did the XP go?
Per my XP house rules:
Base XP is 5 per delve (not per session we play.)
-1 for PC death (Vryce)
-1 for PC death (Al)
-1 for for PC death (Asher)
-1 for two minor NPCs dying (Keef, Gort)
-2 for insufficient treasure (below zero)
+1 for finding a hidden/special area (the dead bishop)
Total: 5 - 6 + 1 = 0.
They couldn't go negative, so it didn't matter so much that they found the bishop. It'll matter in play, but not in XP bonus terms. Dying and then having your body recovered still costs points - permanent death is punishment enough, but even temporary death represents a session gone wrong in some way.
MVP for session 1 was Keef, MVP for session 2 is probably Dryst although I haven't heard back on that yet. So Dryst will get a positive point - the MVP point never counts for the base total, so even if they'd gone negative on the base calculation it wouldn't stop that point from being handed out.
Honestly, though, they're lucky to not all be dead. Except maybe Dryst - he's pretty hard to stop from escaping without supernatural attack and detection powers. 0 xp is fine.
Did the PCs have a chance?
I don't think they really did. They might have rolled better, and gotten off some critical spells. They might even have noticed Mungo's wrist band earlier (and they don't even know if that's why he's immune to fire or not - it could be one of any number of magical items.) They might have more aggressively assaulted the trolls or more quickly backed off into the mist.
But there were more than two dozen trolls and Mungo. They were backed up against a nasty ghost they could only temporarily discomfort but couldn't slay. So if they could have ensured they got rest (so they'd have the juice to really go after the trolls), the ghost would have come back full power and fought them again. If they couldn't rest but remained stuck, ghost again. And if they busted out, and pressed the trolls, the further out into the dungeon they pushed the more the trolls could have surrounded them.
I say "don't think" because my players have surprised me with their tactics, but this level is unsuited for a small party that's less than half ~400 point PCs. There are staggering rewards down that deep, but the risks assume you aren't more like 275 points, which half of the PCs were. I was surprised they did as well as they did against the ghost - and they'd been warned many times that danger increased dramatically with depth.
Still, you can't fault them for trying.