Monday, September 29, 2008

Is this all there is?

We had another gaming session on Friday night, and it went well enough; no one died, new creatures were encountered and their "special traits" were seen. The players (and characters) used some good tactics, but weren't taxed - it was a good night for experience gains.

But it was also a night of combat. And combat. Oh, and a little clue found there in that pile. But that's it, and that's what this module has started to feel like - just a dungeon crawl.

Not that there's anything wrong with a dungeon crawl; fighting monsters, especially ones that are new, or that challenge you to fight with some strategy, is definitely something core to 4e D&D. And, yes, the characters assume that there's a reason they're muscling through the area, seeking the right wrongs and such, as heroes often do.

And I know that previously, I've commented that these combats have been welcome, because we needed to learn the new combat system of 4e, to get a feel for moving from saving throws to defense attacks and for the plethora of powers we now have to manage.

But I want something more. Yes, this adventure has a story in it, and there are hooks that have the characters' motivations fueled, and they have a goal, and a name of some baddie out there, but it just feels very off-balanced towards combat combat combat. We had some roleplaying in earlier sessions, but there's only so much you can do with a mindless opponent, one that doesn't seem ready to parlay.

I know that, as the DM, I can add whatever I like - but I'm trying to follow this adventure as close to written as I can, just to leave it in someone else's hands to invent this time around as we all learn the new rules. I guess I had hoped that a published Wizards of the Coast module would be a little more balanced in such things, since they're the professionals. I like to think that my own adventures mix things up a bit. Perhaps the characters are just going the wrong way, the hack-and-slash way, instead of mixing it up the way the adventure expects.

That's right - always blame the players.

1 comment:

Choronzon said...


I noticed the same problem, and I personally think it's the adventure format, where they actually break the whole thing into separate encounters. This makes it so easy for the DM to just take the path of least resistance that they have to specifically train themselves to put stuff between the combats.

I just remember in old editions I had to really try and figure out how to link all the little rooms and monsters together in published adventures, and roleplaying always seemed to begin in the exploratory stage of empty corridors and rooms. With the new adventures, you kind of just flip the page and somehow the PC's end up in another combat.