"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Now I did it

Well, I did it. If you have checked out our Online B/X game blog or read JB's B/X Blackrazor, you will know that I killed three characters in during our last session. Alright, "I" didn't kill them - a band of a half-dozen troglodytes did but you know what I mean.

As JB says, there were a few tactical errors made and some interesting character roleplaying that I did not see coming. Who would have known that Krome and Diomedes were the heroic sort? However, it doesn't surprise me that Amsorak would go down protecting the party.

The three big tactical errors I saw were:
1. Fighting six 2 HD creatures that gave a couple of the fighters a -2 penalty to their attack rolls and each creature had 3 attacks (18 attacks in total) in the first place.

2. Charging into the middle of the room where all six could attack. The party eventually did a fighting withdrawal to a better defended position but by then some of the damage had been done.

3. Having the polearm in the front rank.

A few thoughts from my side of the virtual-table:
1. I am still getting a handle on playing without being able to pick up on physical cues from the players. Using skype I feel the same as when I am DMing a group that is just giving me blank stares - never a good thing. I am surprised about how uncertain I feel - are the players actually enjoying themselves? Am I giving the players enough descriptive details? Are they getting the point I am trying to get across? Without the physical cues I feel a little lost.

2. I seem to be quite self-conscious after the feedback I received a while ago about the Northern Marches campaign. When the first character fell in combat, I though, "oh no...". I am relieved having read the comments so far from the players. I am also somewhat comforted by the fact that K-Slacker, who has the distinction of being the only player to have participated in all of my Northern Marches games, seems to enjoy the punishment enough to be part of the online game as well.

3. My dice rolling was not in the party's favour. I use a mix of the dice roller that comes with Gametable and some actual dice when we are playing. Neither set were working for the party's benefit. The one hope the party had was the Trogs failing a morale check but it wasn't even close.


  1. Amsorak was a good, if two-dimensional, man (wink).
    --He'd be gratified to have heard your kind words.

    I do agree that the punk attitude in combat cost us, but since I wasn't the caller, I thought it best not to boss folks around.
    --My attempt to bottleneck the Trogs was the best solution I saw available at the time. Perhaps next time around, with M-a-Aa available, we can actually have ranks and two or three abreast with all the bells and whistles. --and not necessarily dive into combat if our own stink bombs are available. ;)

    All in all, it was a fun slaughter to watch, and Aethyliin had the good sense to DD it out of there with her new good buddy.

  2. I feel completely comfortable blaming Krome for this; especially as he isn't around to defend himself. He charged, I tried to back his play, and then people got concerned I wasn't sufficiently armored for the fight. I wasn't as concerned. I went for the lighter armor option, as I thought we could use more of a fighting scout type to back up the thieves. On the first trip to the tower, at one point both the thieves were up on various roofs and the rest of the plate armored guys were down on the ground. The thieves were terribly exposed if anything had happened.

    Regardless, we do need to have a plan for running away. Even Monty Python had that.

    Just hope Krome doesn't return as a Ghost!

  3. "I feel completely comfortable blaming Krome for this..."

    Stu...I dig on your panache. : )

    Personally, I generally don't sweat the odd hireling going down in combat...they're half-expected to be fodder (my wife's attachment to her "NPC buddies" not withstanding).

    As for the PCs deaths...Pat has nothing for which to apologize, and neither do the "dice gods" (who seemed to flee Dio at just the wrong time). Certainly the party had options that weren't exercised, and made decisions that were poor in the situation (I beat myself up plenty on my own blog).

    And I applaud the results! This is the kind of real "experience" that PLAYERS can learn from. While charging into combat was a virtual death sentence, we still had the option of full retreat with a high probability of survival (the trogs only did max damage by surrounding us, not chasing us down narrow corridors; Dio knew the lay of the land...at least to the exist; we had rations and flaming oil we could have dropped o cover our tracks; and we had plenty of hit points...at least when we started the encounter).

    This was a very survivable encounter, even with the lack of magical support (which would have turned it into an easy victory, by the way). If anything, the party suffered from a lack of real, decisive leadership. Krome was just doing what Krome does (role-playing well, I suppose). Jaxson was doing his best to support/aid, as was Aethelyin and Amsorak. Personally, I should have done something instead of waffling...should have either led the retreat or jumped in immediately to spell Jaxson and allowing Amsorak (with the pole arm) to strike from second rank). Instead, I dithered about waiting to see what the hell was going to happen, worried I'd look like a shmuck for breaking, not wanting to commit to a lost cause battle (which I eventually did anyway, paying the price). Ugh!

    As I said, a learning experience for all. I'm optimistic the next session will not end in such a (PC created!) disaster!
    : )

  4. Yeah, I see what you mean. I played with Skype for one session, and the lack of visual queues were hard to handle.

  5. Damn. I hate it when I misspell in blog comments, since very few blog engines allow you to go back and edit stuff like that.

    Just imagine standing in line without being able to see the queue! Am I standing to close to that individual in front?

    I blame it on my tiredness.

  6. FYI, I think there's something funky with that "Online B/X" link at the top.