An Introvert's Conversation With Himself (silentclarity) wrote in roleplayers,
An Introvert's Conversation With Himself
silentclarity
roleplayers

Actual Play - Witchfire (D&D)

Another two weeks, another session of my Witchfire game.

In the last game the characters had journeyed upriver from Corvis in pursuit of Alexia Ciannor, wielder of the ancient and terrible sword Witchfire.  Alexia was making her way to the Temple of the Incomplete Axiom, a remote temple dedicated to the goddess Cyriss, the Maiden of Gears.  

In this latest game the PCs reached the temple and discovered its various secrets.  Which is to say they followed a very winding, very linear path through the guts of the temple.  There were the usual encounters with priests (mostly first level) and then a final conflict with Alexia, Alexia was discovered at the heart of the temple, apparently attempting to use its strange machinery to return her mother to life.  The players engaged with her, and apparently killed her when the Fell Caller threw her into a bottomless pit™

That being said, it was a pretty good time.  Jim is enjoying his new Trollkin character a lot more than his old Gun Mage.  He gets to ham it up, and the Fell Caller is pretty much the exact opposite of the Gun Mage in terms of usefulness.  That is to say, he kicks some serious ass.

I really don't have much more to say about the D&D system, but I have a lot to say about Witchfire.  Not much of it is good!

- The encounter scale is entirely out of whack.  That is to say there are a lot of trivially easy encounters - mostly CR1 and CR2 monsters.  The typical encounter for this adventure was a single level 3 cleric accompanied by 2-3 level 1 clerics and a handful of servitors (CR1, AC16, 15HP and otherwise totally useless, with a base attack bonus of 0 and 1d3 damage).  

The players did take a bit of a beating, but the healing potions they had prevented this.  For the most part they were able to butcher their way through most encounters.  Furthermore because they were level 3-4 the XP they got from these encounters was pretty good.  The XP scales really strangely in D&D, and fighting off hordes of marginal CR guys is an easy way to fast leveling.

The fight with Alexia was brutal though.  Alexia is a 10th level sorceress, and she's accompanied by 4 undead.  The funny thing is the adventure doesn't provide any information on these undead.  They're not your typical risen - they're the coven members that Alexia raised in previous sessions and they're obviously meant to be more than your run of the mill thralls.  But again there is not a single stat provided for them.  I ended up making them scaled down Scarlock Thralls, only able to cast first and second level spells.  If I let them cast third level spells they would have destroyed the PCs by default.

The PCs dealt with the Scarlock Thralls pretty handily and then went after Alexia.  They made the mistake of lining up on a narrow walkway, so of course our favorite little psycho sorceress tossed a lightning bolt.  38 points of damage, ouch!  Fortunately everyone saved.  Nonetheless several characters were reduced to critically low HP levels.  The Fell Caller was in fact reduced to -9 HP at one point, but he had a Fell Call going that allowed him to keep fighting (he can fight to -10 HP at which point he simply drops dead).  

I didn't give them the full XP for Alexia (which would have been for a CR10 character).  Alexia was holding back, trying not to kill the characters.  She's not evil!  Nonetheless it was a big chunk of XP for the characters.

So yeah, in summary my thoughts thus far:
- The entire module is really poorly thought out.  I question whether anyone at Privateer Press has ever actually played it.  Likewise the CR for the enemies is entirely out of whack.  LIke I said with the Servitors - AC16, 15 HPs and 0 base attack bonus and they do 1d3 damage (so they literally cannot hurt most of the PCs).  And yet they're CR1!
- The D&D XP system is really wierd at low levels.  You quickly get characters to the point where they can overwhelm CR1 and CR2 monsters, but they still get decent XP for them.  
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