D&D Encounters: Final Battle

2010 June 3
by Stupid Ranger

Attention: Spoilers included! If you haven’t played your last session of Encounters yet, you may want to come back later!

In-Character Recap

Brief summation for those who haven’t been playing along at home. Our merry band of adventurers were hired by Fein to open the magical entrance recently unearthed in the Underdark; before we were hired, we had to rescue her from thugs. We made our way to the entrance, we disabled the magical protections and escaped down the revealed stairs before the ceiling collapsed on us. We found ourselves trapped in Halaster’s apprentice’s quarters. We fought our way past all kinds of evils before continuing on our way. Eventually, we met up with Fein again, who came through a portal; shortly after her arrival, Xeres, the Big Bad showed up, and the portal was no longer active. Xeres brought some friends to keep us occupied while he kidnapped Fein. He managed to avoid all kinds of obstacles, and we managed to fight our way through to find him.

We survived the skeletons intent on killing us. Knowing Xeres was just a little further ahead, we gathered our courage and our remaining resolve, and we chased the wicked Xeres until he turned to challenge us. We needed to defeat him to retrieve the key to open the portal and escape from the Underdark.

Xeres stood, cooly posed on the bridge, standing over Fein’s apparently unconscious body. Our fighter-y types advanced to engage him, I started peppering him with radiant damage, and our gnome psion inadvertently found some other enemies hanging out, waiting to be invited to the party. It wasn’t easy, but early into battle, things seemed to be going pretty well for us (see picture). Xeres took a lot of focused fire for while (see picture).

But as we all know, battle can turn very quickly. Xeres teleported away to a less-threatened vantage, forcing the fighters to chase him (see picture). Our resources were running out, our resolve was close to failing, but we managed to pull ourselves together, and in the end, we won, though not without a few surprises.

Out-of-Character Thoughts

I had a great time with Encounters! It was a challenge, that first night, to walk into a room full of complete strangers, but I’m glad I did. I made new friends, and I’m looking forward to exploring Dark Sun, not with strangers but with friends.

The concept of one battle per session worked really well. We walked in every week knowing what was expected of us; there were enough surprises that we never knew exactly what to expect, but we knew there would be combat. There was never a moment of indecision because we knew where to go next.

One of biggest problems was with difficult gamer personalities. We had two teenagers that played most every session, and they talked more often than they planned. Combat moved slowly with them, and it was very frustrating for the rest of us. We also had a super-gamer who showed up for a couple of sessions. He wanted to role-play his way through the encounters, which didn’t work well for the group as a whole as he a) took a lot of time every round talking through options he wanted to try, and b) he wasn’t fighting effectively.

My second issue was the slow pace at which we gained experience. As I mentioned before, I understand that short encounters mean less experience, but after eight weeks at level one, I was thrilled to be level two for the last couple of sessions.

Overall, the positive experiences definitely out-weighed the minor issues. I will be starting the Dark Sun season next week, and I hope to have more good experiences in this new set of Encounters!

One Response leave one →
  1. June 4, 2010

    It makes me feel wistful when I read about D&D Encounters. I’d love to get in on the new Dark Sun campaign but according to the map on the wizards website, there isn’t a single store in my entire state that is running Encounters! Even if there were, there isn’t really a gaming store in my town so I’d have to drive too far anyway. I guess I’ll live vicariously through your blogging 😉

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