Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Fall of Irontooth

Tonight was a good night. The party finished the fight with Irontooth. They won by a hair--Scourge, the warlock, gambled his last action point on an extra attack rather than getting the heck away, and eldritch blasted the goblin down to exactly 0 hit points before the four unconscious members of the party started failing their third death saves.

And then the whole party cheered.

First time that's ever happened in a game I ran. But their lives were on the line, in a way that isn't usual in my games. They were smart--they have the tank wall plus snipers strategy pretty much down now, are learning their powers and how to use them to help each other, and and made some really rather inspired use of readied and delayed actions. And they were lucky--Stonefist, the dwarven fighter, rolled three 20s on his death saves, allowing him to keep Irontooth at bay just long enough to deal sufficient damage.

"We should have all encounters be like that," his player said.

Their one casualty was Liam, the elven ranger, who has now been replaced with a doppelganger wizard who has convinced the party that he actually is Liam, that he was only pretending to be dead. And a ranger. I have to wonder just how intentional that was; Liam died because he charged Irontooth, without backup, and was a striker, and the player had a back-up character on hand and ready to go.

It's actually good, because now that player has a weirdness schtick that doesn't annoy the rest of the party like going off into the woods and shooting at things did. And the party is now at the platonic six-person configuration of one of each role, plus an extra defender and an extra striker.

The best part of it all is: no fudging. I was tempted. Oh, how I was tempted. Not to fudge the rolls, because I'm doing them in the open, partially to remove that option. (I have been known to misinterpret the dice, taking advantage of player inattention, but not this game.) But I seriously considered knocking a few hitpoints off the dragonshields, or to "forget" Irontooth's regeneration.

But I didn't. No fudging. They could have run, but they decided they could take it, or were willing to risk it. All on their own terms.

The defeated Irontooth. And they earned it.


  1. It was a pretty intense battle. I was way more involved emotionally because it was clear we could all die.

    And the post-gaming talk about 4e and our campaign was nice, just to hear what we all liked or disliked about it so far.

  2. Glad to hear y'all are having such a great time. It sounds like 4e is really clicking with your group, and the ebb and flow of the tactical challenges is adding a lot of fun to your games. I really appreciate your writing on this because you really dig into the issues I feel are important to a DM trying to run the game, and there's a basic honesty and lack of agenda in your writing. Please keep it up!

    - Brian