TPK

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Hazen
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TPK

Postby Hazen » Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:45 am

Well, we're heading toward a TPK, and it's annoying that one of the primary reasons is that the party can't move as a group in 5E. The time-honored D&D tradition of group movement, and thus allowing mutual protection, is not possible under these rules. Calder (globe), Morpheus (paladin), and Kili (bright light) all had area protections that should have protected us from things like Strahd's fireball, the bride's shadow step, etc. and Cat would have stayed & moved with the group instead of facing the three brides himself. Esmeralda attacking a turned bride instead of binding Cat was also strange, and perhaps also the result of an inability to delay to see if the turn was successful?

That said, Calder has one last idea. He could use the staff to cast wall of force as a 10' sphere - with the party inside. Strahd wouldn't be able to move across the sphere, but only teleport / ddoor in or out. That way, he'd at least have to hang with us for a whole round at a time. As I mentioned, it'd be better if we could teleport out of the castle first, but I doubt we could get to the teleport room in time.

Any other ideas or thoughts?

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Veracity
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Re: TPK

Postby Veracity » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:09 am

If Cat has anything (weapons, magic items, etc) that might be helpful, please take them.

Cat's spirit is with you!

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Re: TPK

Postby Hazen » Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:38 pm

Veracity wrote:If Cat has anything (weapons, magic items, etc) that might be helpful, please take them.

Cat's spirit is with you!


What does he have? Any potions? We will drink and swear to avenge his death!

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Brianna Sollandry
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Re: TPK

Postby Brianna Sollandry » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:55 pm

Hazen wrote:Well, we're heading toward a TPK, and it's annoying that one of the primary reasons is that the party can't move as a group in 5E. The time-honored D&D tradition of group movement, and thus allowing mutual protection, is not possible under these rules.

I was struggling to understand this, since I was not aware of any "group movement" rules in previous versions. Hasn't it always been the case that people act in their initiative order? And then I realized you meant the "Delay" action. Right?

Cat would have stayed & moved with the group instead of facing the three brides himself.

Well, part of that was Cat's rashness: running ahead and opening a door with no consideration that it might not have been safe. After all, the party was fleeing. What could go wrong?

Esmeralda attacking a turned bride instead of binding Cat was also strange, and perhaps also the result of an inability to delay to see if the turn was successful?

No. That was an error on my part. It is difficult for the DM to run a very skilled NPC (like Ezmerelda) on the side of a party while also running very skilled NPCs (like the brides or Strahd) against the party. I tend to simplify things and forget to do what an actual player running the character would do. That is why I am so grateful that we have an actual player operating Morpheus again. Notice how more effective he was, with spells and smite, than when I was operating him essentially as a fighter?

Ezmerelda has up to 4th level spells, but they are mostly things that augment her personal abilities as a warrior or adventurer, with a couple of offensive spells (fire bolt, magic missile, lightning bolt). No healing - and since "binding" is not an automatic success in 5e (you need to pass a DC10 Medicine check - which she failed, as you noticed, for Kili), I'm not used to it.

I am willing to retro that action: Give up the attack on the Bride and instead roll a Medicine check, when we next meet. If it fails, Cat will be in the same situation, having "bled" once and then gotten a natural 1 on the death save when the fireball came in. I.e., dead. But if it succeeds, Cat will, instead, be at 2 failures from that natural 1. Still, "not dead yet".

That said, Calder has one last idea. He could use the staff to cast wall of force as a 10' sphere - with the party inside. Strahd wouldn't be able to move across the sphere, but only teleport / ddoor in or out.

Or, alternatively, simply wait for the sphere to expire.

Any other ideas or thoughts?

You are in dire straits, having exhausted your spells. Your "fighters" - Brandt, Morpheus, Ezmerelda, and Sir Klutz - have potent attack sequences. And Kili's Mace of Disruption does extra radiant damage against undead, although the "save or be destroyed" aspect of that weapon is unlikely to prevail.

The bright side is that Strahd and the brides are also depleted of useful spells. Chances are you will not see all of those together.

You are in a pickle, though. If you stay in the castle, if you meet Strahd, he has Lair actions. If you leave the castle, he does not, but you are depending on escaping the outer castle and making your way through the woods unmolested.

But you did have a really good shot at him when you ganged up on him at the top of the stairs. Your attacks of opportunity when he withdrew took him to the single digits. Had you "slain" him, he'd have had to make his way back to his tomb. You were closer to victory than I (and, perhaps, you) expected.

I was not being sarcastic when I congratulated you at the end of the session with "well done".

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Re: TPK

Postby Hazen » Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:37 pm

Note, I'm not complaining about the DM or Ravenloft - you're doing a great job and the world is fun and challenging - I'm venting about the missing "delay" action that allowed a party to coordinate things better and more naturally. In this case being able to move and stay together as a group. There are (and have been since before living memory :wink:) a number of area spells and effects that travel with a party member or an object. These become less useful when characters can only move singly. Think of even a lantern! Without being able to move as a group, a party with a single lantern will plunge individuals into darkness as they move through the dungeon / castle / nighttime scene - especially if they're moving fast or around corners, etc. That's just weird.

I suspected you forgot that Esmeralda attacking a turned bride would un-turn her. Mistakes happen - especially in the heat of battle. Morpheus did it deliberately - although that was more in character. I'm not asking for a do-over - although Cat might want one!

In the case of wall of force, yes, Strahd can simply pull up a chair and wait ten minutes, but if we enclose just ourselves we might delay our deaths ten more minutes :D

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Re: TPK

Postby Brianna Sollandry » Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:31 pm

Hazen wrote:I suspected you forgot that Esmeralda attacking a turned bride would un-turn her. Mistakes happen - especially in the heat of battle. Morpheus did it deliberately - although that was more in character. I'm not asking for a do-over - although Cat might want one!

Oh, right. I forgot that attacking would break the turn, after I had already decided that my most effective available action would be to attack. Had I remembered that, then binding Cat would have been the only logical choice. So, yes - a mistake.

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Veracity
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Re: TPK

Postby Veracity » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:14 pm

My other group is more "loosey-goosey" and still allows "Delay Action" in 5e. (Our DMs vary too. One doesn't have us take alignments. Another allows rolled PCs instead of point buy and doesn't even cap initial stats.) This group is a very by the book group. Either is fair. Just diff styles. I don't mind. It's all fun!

Cat was trying to get where the people with the spheres of protection would be in the turns right after his, so he wasn't left back by himself as "Strahd-bait." (Strahd went right before Cat in the initiative order, I thought, "at the top of the round." So that was Cat's concern.) He did not consider the roaming brides at all. And no matter what, opening that door was foolish!!!

Cat has a Potion of Animal Friendship left. And he has the +1 Rapier.

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Re: TPK

Postby Brianna Sollandry » Sat Oct 17, 2020 11:31 am

Morpheus commented that Strahd didn't seem too affected by sunlight. Somebody else commented that radiant damage didn't seem to be too worrisome.

Here are the details about how those are supposed to work:

Vampires (and vampire spawn) regenerate at the start of their turn.
1) They do not regenerate if they are in sunlight.
--> check.
2) Attacks and ability checks are at disadvantage if in sunlight.
--> check
3) They do not regenerate if they took radiant damage last round.
--> usually moot, so far, since the fiends taking such have started the next turn in sunlight - although this delays Strahd's and the brides' current regeneration by one round.
4) If they start their turn in sunlight, they take radiant damage.
--> oops. I don't think that would have affected the current results.
--> However, Anastrasya Karelova is clinging to a wall 15' up from Kili's Holy Symbol of Ravenkind, which has a 60' radius (30' bright, 30' dim) of sunlight

This makes the Sun Sword and the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind more potent than I've allowed, so far. I'm not going to try to retro past combat, but this makes your future a lot brighter, so to speak, than it previously appeared. I expect you'll not see the brides again, for example, and Strahd will be warier about Morpheus...

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Re: TPK

Postby Brianna Sollandry » Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:43 pm

Here is the official Sage Advice answer from WotC on why there is no "delay" action in 5e:

Can you delay your turn and take it later in the round? Nope. When it’s your turn, either you do something or you don’t. If you don’t want to do anything, consider taking the Dodge action so that you’ll, at least, have some extra protection. If you want to wait to act in response to something, take the Ready action, which lets you take part of your turn later.

For a variety of reasons, we didn’t include the option to delay your turn:

  • Your turn involves several decisions, including where to move and what action to take. If you could delay your turn, your decision-making would possibly become slower, since you would have to consider whether you wanted to take your turn at all. Multiply that extra analysis by the number of characters and monsters in a combat, and you have the potential for many slowdowns in play.
  • The ability to delay your turn can make initiative meaningless, as characters and monsters bounce around in the initiative order. If combatants can change their place in the initiative order at will, why use initiative at all? On top of that, changing initiative can easily turn into an unwelcome chore, especially for the DM, who might have to change the initiative list over and over during a fight.
  • Being able to delay your turn can let you wreak havoc on the durations of spells and other effects, particularly any of them that last until your next turn. Simply by changing when your turn happens, you could change the length of certain spells. The way to guard against such abuse would be to create a set of additional rules that would limit your ability to change durations. The net effect? More complexity would be added to the game, and with more complexity, there is greater potential for slower play.
Two of our goals for combat were for it to be speedy and for initiative to matter. We didn’t want to start every combat by rolling initiative and then undermine turn order with a delay option. Moreover, we felt that toying with initiative wasn’t where the focus should be in battle. Instead, the dramatic actions of the combatants should be the focus, with turns that could happen as quickly as possible. Plus, the faster your turn ends, the sooner you get to take your next turn.

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Re: TPK

Postby Brianna Sollandry » Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:32 pm

I omitted the "a vampire takes radiant damage at the begininng of each round it starts in sunlight".
However, I also did not play all of Strahd's Legendary Action's correctly: three times per round, in reaction to another character's action, he can move at his speed without provoking an attack of opportunity. Had I played that correctly he would have passed through the wall without any of you getting an attack of opportunity on him.

I think my two errors cancel out, as far as helping vs. hindering the PCs.

Going forward, I'll remember both of those. But I hope it's clear why we're not going to try to retro them, since we'd have to do the entire session over again - and I suspect that the odds would not be in your favor. You're not in Panem, after all. :)

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Hazen
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Re: TPK

Postby Hazen » Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:48 pm

So you're saying with the "Ready" action a PC can say something to the effect of "I'm going to move when everybody else moves" or "when the last person moves"? So we could have moved as a group as long as everybody but the last person gives up their other actions. Or can Ready involve a move + action?

I suppose a better - if awkward - way would be for nobody to have moved until right after Strahd went (i.e. Brandt and Calder - who were higher in the initiative than Strahd - should have skipped their first round move, and instead move in their next round) then just before Strahd's next turn we'd have all assembled in a protective group.

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Re: TPK

Postby Yoshi » Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:30 pm

Another question for the DM.

You are using some lair ability that lets Strahd pass through the walls of the keep. Great!

But I have to ask if it's reasonable that he can stay within the wall between rounds, or if he must end up on the other side at the end of his movement. If the latter, then I would think he would need Levitate to not fall after passing through an exterior wall, which would depend on concentration; he could presumably therefore not also have Greater Invisibility up. Unless, of course, he has some sort of innate ability.

I'm fine either way, frankly. This is quite a challenge---and should be.

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Veracity
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Re: TPK

Postby Veracity » Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:51 pm

There was a question about redoing Esmeralda's turn such that instead of attacking the turned bride, she would make a roll to bind Cat.

I have given this much thought and do not think it is worth the effort - as he would be at 0 and like a "sack of potatoes" for you to lug around. You are all too low on spells to bring him up enough to be useful. Also, we aren't reusing these PCs. When the Strahd compaign ends, it just ends.

So gather up his gear and gp and carry on! :-)

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Re: TPK

Postby Brianna Sollandry » Wed Oct 21, 2020 5:21 am

Yoshi wrote:. If the latter, then I would think he would need Levitate to not fall after passing through an exterior wall, which would depend on concentration; he could presumably therefore not also have Greater Invisibility up. Unless, of course, he has some sort of innate ability.

He has innate Spider Climb. He can also pass through a floor and cling to the ceiling of the room below.


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