Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The illusions begin to crack

Four encounters. Maybe five.

That seems to be the limit for a second level party. A party of six mind you. At that point we were utterly drained. No more daily or encounter powers and precious few healing surges.

It was the latter, or more precisely the inability of anyone in our party to allow anyone to use a healing surge (outside of a Second Wind), that had us arguing over whether to retreat or press on.

I was the one who most wanted to press on. In part for roleplay reasons. My dragonborn isn't one to back down from a challenge. Plus I didn't want to leave the keep and abandon all the progress we'd made (assuming the bad guys re-group and are ready to meet us at the gates, or worse, set up a bunch of traps).

Mainly however, I wanted to test the theory that 4E is supposed to encourage parties to adventure onwards without "resting" after every other encounter.

Sure, we were down to our At Will powers and one Second Wind per encounter, but in 4E that's supposed to be enough. I mean, isn't that the point behind all the At Will powers and HP we get?

Maybe not, as the death of our Cleric seems to prove.

Not that he wouldn't have fallen regardless. We might have been at full power and it still wouldn't have saved him. He took a lot of damage in just a couple of rounds. Then again, with the ability to use a healing surge or two, he might have stayed on his feet.

The point is, we all felt an urge to retreat and "rest" to regain our powers before moving deeper into the cultist's keep. Yet we'd only been through four or five encounters (with the sixth being decidedly deadly) and being only mid-morning in the game world.

Is this evidence of poor module design? Flawed game design? A bit of both?

More importantly, how was this different from 3rd edition? Instead of falling back on a crossbow or whatever, my wizard had his scorching blasts and thunderclaps. The others all had an array of "cool" things they could still do. But in the end, none of those "cool" things made a difference. We still ended up retreating to town to kill several hours before getting our six hours of sleep and our full array of powers back.

I suppose that's the difference right there. Instead of just the wizard crying over his lost spells, it was the entire party. Welcome to the club warriors and rogues. Welcome.


Anonymous said...

I was trolling the web, and reading stuff about 4th Edition and things going on in other campaigns and came across your blog.

I noticed you said your party had spent all dailies and encounter powers in 4-5 encounters and had only at-wills and second winds left.

If your party took a short rest (5 minutes) then you would have regained all your encounter powers too. No need to leave the keep.

:) Just a thought.

Griff said...

Yeah, I overlooked that we would have had our encounter powers back. Good catch.

But, the reason we retreated was partly because we had used all of our daily powers, and had almost no healing surges left. With the lack of healing being the biggest.

Come to think of it, if we had some good old 3.5 Cure Light Wounds potions, we would have been fine to carry on.