View Full Version : [4e] Playtest Impressions

2008-07-04, 06:57 AM
My friends and I got together for a three person party test of KotS, and we had a blast. Details to follow.

Setup - we heard news that one of our Marine buddies was back from Iraq and having a bit of a rough time with some personal stuff, so we dropped in unannounced with the 4e core books, character sheets, and a bag of doritos. He looked a bit disappointed when I said it would be a game of 4e, but I told him to shaddup and throw me down a fighter. We only had one copy of the core set and the KotS package, so creation was a bit difficult, yet it still only took an hour per character, despite that this was the first time for any of the three of them making characters. My familiarity with the book helped quite a bit, so we were very happy.

Party - Everyone was assigned the standard array for simplicity's sake, and put together ABC, the Anti-Bandit Comission. We had an Elf Bow Ranger, since Sal wanted to see just how much the class had changed in 4e, a Halfling control wizard with an outrageous topknot, and our Marine put together a Dragonborn guardian fighter.

Adventure - we were able to get through the first two kobold encounters as far as combat went. The first fight I didn't modify at all, and played very much for keeps. The fighter did a good job as a defender in drawing out the two Dragonshields, while the wizard and the ranger murdered the minions with acid arrow and split the tree. The gluepot did immobilize the fighter, but he saved after a couple of rounds and got through. My impressions were that even a very reduced party can handle the first ambush fairly well if they're diverse and operate with solid tactical considerations.

The second encounter was a bit different. I wanted to see if the game system handled modifications on the fly as well as careful planning, so I swapped out one of the three dragonshields for another skirmisher. The party handled the encounter well enough, though with a bit of difficulty. The Fighter tried to rush one of the dragonshields (who was protecting the wyrmpriest) for a cleave, and failed (though I ruled the party had turned the ambush on its head since everyone had taken care to roll stealth checks and had done so well). He did manage to draw the attention of most of the melee combatants over to him, and when it looked like he'd get overwhelmed, the wizard cast sleep on the whole lot of them. The Ranger stalked around at that point, murdering the stragglers with outstanding arrow shots, and the wizard took down the wyrmpriest in a spell duel.

Roleplay - I hooked them with the map subplot, because our fighter was the seventh son of a noble house that had gone into exile at his brother's machinations, and thus he was looking for wealth and experience to take back his family's home (ripe fodder for a paragon path and an epic destiny based on birthright, I think). The elf is quite simply a wandering mercenary, out to enjoy himself, while the wizard is looking to ressurect his human master, who was devoured by zombies, so they're travelling with him for fun and profit. A simple but dynamic party, and their interactions were INCREDIBLY fun to watch. Including discussions of the tactical goat. They had a goat pack animal to load their travelling gear on, and at one point they loaded up two spears and four shields on the thing, leading to an image of a goat with armour and two spears pointing forward. Lovely stuff. They approached the banditry situation by scalping the bodies and taking their grisly trophies to Lord Padraig and offering a deal, three GP per scalp they bring back, plus 120 if they root out the nest.

Summation - we had an outstanding time. Our Marine, despite being ambivalent and very hesitant to play a 4e game, AND despite having the worst luck the entire game (he spent over half of it bloodied, and failed most of his saving throws!), still ended the night by praising the system and saying he'd recommend it as highly as he could to his regular saturday group. Sal's got character ideas falling out of his head (Eladrin Rogue for the moment), and JJ found the magic system intuitive and entertaining. All in all, a very successful night of gaming, and I will be sticking with 4e for quite some time to come.

Thanks for reading my ramblings!

2008-07-04, 01:09 PM
Nice description.

You can make it work a bit better by upping the level of your characters.

A party of 5 first-level characters is "worth" 500 XP.
A party of 4 2nd level characters is "worth" 500 XP.
A party of 3 3rd level characters is "worth" 450 XP.
A party of 2 4th level characters is "worth" 400 XP.
A party of 2 5th level characters is "worth" 500 XP.

All of these should be relatively close to the "balance point" of KotS.