Attacking Harborjoy III

This first session of the new year was … confusing. At least in retrospect. There was time spent on chatting about Christmas and what news it had brought. While this was fine and all, it did cut into actual game time quite a bit, as well as adding to the generally disjointed feel of the session. For me at least.

As for the actual session, it too was a bit disjointed. At least in retrospect.

First the party checked that they had sent orders for the cavalry. Then they moved ahead of their army, to harrass and delay the oncomming army. Groshni May actually have done more good in that job, than ever before in this campaign. He’s our self-declared munchkin powergamer but not usually very good at it.
He’s been casting Haste for good effect, and a lot of Fireballs with rather less consistent results. In this session however, he made a rather efficient harrasser, with flight and Teleportation for transportation, as well as an asortment of magical effects for annoying and delaying the incomming army. He also managed to kill enough trolls that I simply ruled that the 30 strong troll contingent I’d sent in with that wave, was reduced to irrelevancy.

And all of that was a simply a holding action, to buy time for their cavalry units to get to the Wyvernstone Bridge and hold it. Then they moved to locate and intercept the seaborne (lakeborne?) attack.

This was not actually a true naval force. More like an amphibious assault force. They were simply supposed to bring infantry in to create a pincer-situation, not to actually fight on water. So imagine their efficiency and general preparedness when suddently attacked by a full part of flying level 10 PCs. The only reason that was actually a fight and not just a slaughter, was because the players were holding back. They wanted free ships, even if these were little more than barges.

Having taken the ships and acceted the surrender of the few they’d allowed to live, they ordered them to sail to Harborjoy and surrender (again) to the troops there. The PCs then confiscated all weapons and armor, and teleported back to Harborjoy to warn them that PoWs might be incomming.

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Maybe just a little one then

I’m just going to chance it, betting that whatever stupid virus I have, isn’t communicable via the internet. Since it’s me having that virus and not my computer, it seems like a fair bet 😉

I’ve been watching bits and pieces of Kingmaker CRPG play-thrus. They’ve changed a lot of things. Well, the first book seems fairly familiar, but later on, things diverge. As was to be expected.

They do a better job of having the fey be actually present than paizo did. as I’ve ranted about before. And I was just reminded of one of the reasons I decided against focusing on the fey for this story: They are just obnoxious and annoying to fight.

Yeah, nothing important to say. Not even sure I’m making coherent sense right now. But there it is.

Attacking Harborjoy II

Having defeated the advanced trolls (and the 25 mercenaries), Darvan had a little duel against Ameon Trask himself. And the next day, the party interrogated Ameon Trask using Speak With Dead.

In this way, they learned that this first wave was merely a small group of opportunistic/overly enthusiastic mercenaries who’d moved in, ahead of the main strike force.

And what was the main force then? As so often before, the DaddyDM has a suggestion. But while it’s a excellent suggestion, I’m not going to follow it. Or at least not all of it.
Why? At first flush, simply because 1) it’s a bit more of a complicated army than I think Drelev can easily arrange. 2) The Lurkers in Light are fey. I’m trying to filter the fey out of the storyline for now.

And so I sent in an army of a thousand mercenaries and 30 trolls in as the second wave. Then a third wave to arrive by ship during that same battle and attack the defenders from the docks (still being build) to catch them from behind – or at least in the flank. The PCs a sent for reinforcements and then set about to prepare for a full field battle. Mainly by trying to see how to delay the incomming troops.

Attacking Harborjoy II

Having defeated the advanced trolls (and the 25 mercenaries), Darvan had a little duel against Ameon Trask himself. And the next day, the party interrogated Ameon Trask using Speak With Dead.

In this way, they learned that this first wave was merely a small group of opportunistic/overly enthusiastic mercenaries who’d moved in, ahead of the main strike force.

And what was the main force then? As so often before, the DaddyDM has a suggestion. But while it’s a excellent suggestion, I’m not going to follow it. Or at least not all of it.
Why? At first flush, simply because 1) it’s a bit more of a complicated army than I think Drelev can easily arrange. 2) The Lurkers in Light are fay. I’m trying to filter the fay out of the storyline for now.

And so I sent in an army of a thousand mercenaries and 30 trolls in as the second wave. Then a third wave to arrive by ship during that same battle and attack the defenders from the docks (still being build) to catch them from behind – or at least in the flank. The PCs a

Attacking Harborjoy I

My concerns with the attack on Tatzelfort as written expressed, time to move on.

The DaddyDM decided to change the rather pathetic lot sent by Drelev to a real army. In fact, he’s gone over a lot of the problems I have with Blood For Blood.

The DaddyDM has even been so nice as to comment on some of my ruminations. He was even nice enough to call my Cry For Help alternate scenario for what was happening, a “clever spin”. So it’s too bad I didn’t go with that, isn’t it.

Instead, I had an attack in waves. I sent in the attack as written. Except I didn’t run it as written. Why bother?
When the (first) attackers arrived, they were met by the party. Lucerne in particular told them to turn back and never return. Lucerne is pretty good at intimidation, and she rolled decently on top of that. The attackers went ahead. But I’m not sure they should have.

They still went forward though. So Groshni dropped a Fireball (Haste was already on) on the attack. And then the martials did the rest. Which was mostly mopping up, as every low-level mercenary who’d been hit by that fireball was gone. Regardless of their saves. After 3 rounds (never mind 3 phases), the human mercenaries were history – and no significant resources had been expended.

The next wave was the March of the Trolls, as described in Blood for Blood. 6 Advanced Trolls. But trolls are a lot less scary when you know how to deal with them. And by now, any group playing through Pathfinder, should know that.
And they were certainly well armed for fighting trolls.

I’d even added a cleric of Urxehl, just like in the olden days in Rivers Run Red. But it didn’t matter much. They never really used fire against the trolls, and when they noticed that one of the trolls didn’t much care about acid, they dropped a Dispel Magic on that troll.

A Quick Thought About D&D (and Pathfinder)

I’ve been thinking about DM’ing lately.

1) It might just be me, but parties appear to gain power faster than than 1 CR worth of monsters per level. I never really noticed this as a player. As a DM, it seems very much a thing though.
It could be because I’m not a very skilled tactician or because the higher level books of Kingmaker (currently my main DM’ing experiment) just aren’t all that hard.
It might also be because my party is a bit above expected Wealth by Level – though not as much as I’d expected them to be by now. Taking out a lot of the quests had cut down on the available wealth, even though I put a lot of it back in via the dragon’s hoard.
2) Again, this might just be me.
But Pathfinder/D&D appears to have a wierd inverted learning curve. You need to know/learn a lot of stuff to make your character. If you want to play a spell caster, you need to read a lot of spells to make sensible selections.
Prepared casters can switch out later, but spontaneous casters, not so much.
Some would say this is less true for martials, but have you seen the list of Feats in this game?!
Making it worse, many feats (and prestige classes and what not) require you to make early choices based on where you want to go later.
So again you need to know a lot very early on.
3) The combination of this appears to me to be that early on, characters have to be sneaky and use clever tactics. Later, at higher levels, it’s much more about just powering through, and sometimes about shutting down the opposition’s special powers.

I might be wrong. but that’s kinda my feeling for now.

PS: These are just my random thoughts. There should be an actual post up soon.
Including a reply to a recent comment. Hopefully.