Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Phoenix Barony: Session 4 the TPK!

Last night was our fourth, and alas, final session of The Phoenix Barony utilizing Tunnels & Trolls 5th ed. for our rules system.

I didn't intend it, but I had my first TPK (total party kill) in many years. It was not very well timed, but death never is, as we had a new player enter the fold, giving our dwindling numbers a much needed boost. I'm hoping a TPK on his first evening gaming with us doesn't scare him off.

The TPK came about because I am not familiar enough with T&T to judge what is a balanced encounter. I'm not a huge advocate of "everything should be balanced", I think that sometimes the characters should run-away in abject terror. Honestly, I didn't think the encounter I had planned for them would ultimately end in everyone's demise, but in retrospect, I didn't leave much avenue for escape.

After being joined by a new member, a dwarven warrior named Ashkore, the players decided to descend to the next level found in the previous session. The entrance was in the form of a hidden trap door that opened to a ladder which descended down. At the bottom of the ladder they found a narrow tunnel with a shallow ceiling. This forced them to crouch (even the dwarves) and they entered knowing that they could not easily turn, or fight effectively with anything other then thrusting weapons.

Twenty feet in, they were harried by Rattlings that attacked them with javelins through murder-holes. They managed to survive this, although Olga our female dwarf warrior only made it by Alesion sharing a Restoration potion with her.

They fought their way into an opening where they could fight the rattlings. Ashkore, who had all ready taken damage in the tunnel, tripped a falling block which brought him near death. The rest of the combat against the 8 rattlings lasted only two rounds. Alesion and Kilshalt both cast Take That You Fiend, managing to reduce the number of rattlings to 7; however, the group lost the first combat round so all four characters took wounds. Ashkore absorbed too many wounds and fell to the ground skewered by javelins.

Round two went the same. Alesion and Kilshalt reduced another rattling to cinders, but the players again lost the combat round and had to each take wounds. I rolled a windfall of spite damage, and all the heroes died.

Afterwards, we discussed making new characters and starting fresh; however, an out cry for a return to one of our main stand-by games was raised. The game in question being Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd edition. It's been a year since we've played an WFRP, and as it is perhaps my favorite fantasy game of all time, I was not against the idea. I considered trying out 3rd edition with them, but decided I'm not ready to give up on 2nd edition just yet. I've read and own 3rd, and while there are some things I like, I have some deep reservations.

The best part for me is, all of the players presently active in the group have not been run through Shadows over Bogenhoffen nor Death on the Reik, two of my favorite WFRP adventures. I am out of town right now, but hope to be back in time to run WFRP next Tuesday, if not then the Tuesday next.

It's going to be a grim and perilous adventure.

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