Monday, February 23, 2009

Why huge battles are bad

We last played Kalamar on January 25th, so it's only been a month since we last played this game.

The group continued east, after having killed the nomadic worshipers of the Emperor of Scorn and resting for the night.

By mid afternoon, the group of adventurers and their guides saw amongst the hills squarish shapes which they presumed to be buildings. Once they got closer, they saw what appeared to be a small village. They could hear several voices which were talking with each other, and several humanoid shapes walking around.

Once they got close, however, they saw that the humanoids were not exactly friendly. More than two dozen gnolls in armor were in the village. Some were lying on the ground, and some seemed to be deathly ill. Upon seeing the group, a few of the gnolls prepared to defend themselves while others pressed the attack.

Everyone ran for cover behind buildings, behind the well in the center of the village, or behind their less fortunate comrades. Jelena, quick with her bow began shooting gnolls that didn't make it to cover in time. Darwin followed up with a spell that covered the ground in front of the group with a slippery substance.

Gnolls began returning fire with their short bows, while some began circling around, hoping to catch the group unawares.

A group of gnolls was lucky to approach Raizix and one gave him a sound thrashing with his battle axe, and Jelena took an arrow to her leg but both were able to continue fighting. Darwin continued casting spells into the gnolls as well as using his bow. Ember cast a few spells, but mainly used her scimitar.

At one point, it seemed uncertain of the gnolls would press the attack. A few ran up from behind their cover, only to be cut down. The remaining ones fled, leaving their fighting companions behind. When only one remained, he said, "You have bested me. Allow me to die with honor."

Raizix commanded him to drop his weapons, which he did. Raizix then questioned him. It turned out that the gnolls had been brought there by the Witch Lady, and told to attack the group. They were not well prepared for the climate, and after drinking the water in the well, several became sick with a terrible plague. It seems that the wizard Daresh continues to try to stop them indirectly. After questioning him, Ember stabs him in the heart with her dagger, where he dies instantly.

DM Note: I didn't care for this encounter, mainly because it used numbers instead of strength. Throwing several weak creatures at a group of this level is usually ineffective because the only chance they have to hit is with a critical, or nearly so. I tried to play them in a tactical manner, where they could hide behind terrain until they could swarm up. It's also hard to keep track of 30 monsters and all of their hit points. In retrospect, I think I would have replaced the gnolls with less of something stronger, perhaps five or six gnolls with class levels.

Grand Melee

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