Thursday, January 27, 2011

Game Night Recap: Back to 4e

Due to some "staffing issues" we decided to put our Savage Worlds game on hold and swap back to 4th edition D&D this week. Not sure how many weeks this will last but I expect we will finish up the adventure we are playing before moving on again. It was not quite as difficult to switch back to 4e mode as I had anticipated, but the amount of prep time is just huge when compared to Savage Worlds. I spent a few evenings writing up some notes on what would be happening, and got some names and places down on paper. That was not too bad, and likely not more than I would have had to do for SW. However, then I had to plan out the encounters. This really takes way to long in D&D. My basic procedure is:

  1. Pick a Theme (monster type, basic environment)
  2. Draw up the map, and consider what to add in from a terrain standpoint.
  3. Search through the various books, or use online tools to find monster types I like.
  4. Modify the monsters to fit my needs. I often make Minions out of normal creatures and change the HP's of big monsters to help shorten combat a bit. Lots of little changes.
  5. Download copies of the monsters from the Adventure Tools for import into inCombat via iPlay4e.
  6. Print copies of the monster sheets for power reference at the table (I find the paper easier than the PC for tracking powers, but the PC easier for Init and Status tracking).
Overall, this takes me about 45 - 60 minutes per encounter. This is especially true now that the party is more advanced in level. This is just way too long. Perhaps I need a better system, it would certainly save time to switch back to all paper, but I fell that combat runs smoother with the PC helping.

Who will win?
Anyway, we got a late start tonight, and rushed though some of the potential roleplaying bits to try and get to some combat. The party has journeyed to the Feywild and are locked in battle with a group of Eladrin and two huge treants. It should be a challenging encounter for the party, one I think they will have to work together on to be successful. I am not sure they have faced two huge creatures like this.

The adventure we are playing started off as the published Tear of Ioun adventure from Dungeon Magazine. The adventure reads pretty good, but I messed up some of the bits early on, and then got bored with where the story was going. I decided to change it up a lot, and shorten the over all adventure. I still had enough to work with and making modifications has not been difficult. We should wrap this adventure up in 3 or 4 more sessions. I think after that I will be done with D&D for a while. I am very interested in running a game of Grimm, or a Hellfrost based Savage Worlds game, or give another try to Warhammer Fantasy.

The recording for tonights session should be up on sometime next week. Most of us will be at the OwlCon game convention at Rice University this weekend.

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