There is a shift in the game when level appropriate monsters start using "magic" instead of just weapons. If this kind of encounter is new for the group, then one invisible creature would have sufficed, accompanied by a few other critters. But your battle was not out of line. In the future they will be better prepared. Wait till they start failing saves for debuffs, charms, and the such. There might be a new batch of complaints.
I have encountered people like the ones you describe who I feel need to realize that the 80s are gone, other I believe should have never picked up a die, and others who I feel in my heart are so power/meta/munchkin that they are playing the game "wrong". Point is its a big gaming world out there, and most people play differently than me, even when we're playing the same game. Which is why, if you are lucky enough to have a gaming group you mesh with, you should focus on making it last.
There's a part of me that receives the greatest satisfaction from the team pulling together and barely scraping through with our lives. We gave had combats where the big bad falls and we literally all leap into the air cheering. But... There is a time and place for that. I've experienced that overdone and it is wearisome to even think about. I like the cinematic escapes, the wipe the floor with the mooks fights, the wtf random encounters, the climb/swim/jump/fight physical challenges, the puzzle/trap/fight ordeals, and the gloryless run or dies too. I consider variety very important.
The end of the BBT D&D game was great.
OK so I have included run two separate christmas themed D&D sessions.
The first featured Se'antu Necolas, a jungle-dwelling, dwarf who travelled from one impoverished village to the next delivering much needed supplies. He travelled of course in his famous red outfit. As our party of heroes passes through one of these villages, the people there bemoan that Se'antu has not arrived and they will not make it through the winter. The PCs are hot on the trail in no time and track down a orc who lives alone in the jungle who has kidnapped Se'antu (and incidentally possesses strange supernatural powers granted to him by an abberant alien life-form), and now wears his famous red outfit. The villain is built to engage and entire party, just as Se'antu single-handedly performs his duties. He rewards them with presents from his magic bag, just for being good. The PCs succeed and later meet the orc (now resurrected by his dark god) later in the game, when they finally meet the dark god.
The second time was very different, and I can't do it justice with words. A mysterious dwarf-like outsider in a red suit who carries an artifact level musket that also functions as a wand approached the party and asks their assistance. They will travel through a portal to a demi-plane inhabited by evil drow and their dwarven slaves, who die by the dozens from overwork. The PCs and the outsider will go there to deliver to the slaves hope and glad tidings! and presents. Now I had unwittingly sown the seeds for my own failure here, and was so in love with my own holiday gaming session that I failed to see it forming before my eyes until it was too late. The party penetrated the stronghold covertly at first, then not so covertly. Soon they were known to their enemies and the gig was up. Drow warriors assaulted them by the handful, as dozens more approached, with hundreds more readying themselves. Now my group of PCs was not exactly "good". The party elf wizard unleashes a massive AoE at the drow. The player knew that the party rogue/fighter was 5 ft in front of him invisible, by the character did not. The sneak attacking rogue wielded an elf-bane, flaming burst waraxes (named Elfburn) is now enraged and full-attacked the wizard in the middle of the battle. The other front liner, a CN barbarian/rogue (who owned a magical great sword that had been forged by the hands of enslaved dwarves and then tempered in those same dwarves blood. the sword constantly longed for their blood again) shouted "Chaos!" and full attacked Santa. Santa responded by unleashing a critical attack on him and nearly killed him in a single attack. The party archer (who was always itching to move south of his neutral alignment) protects his friend and unleashed hell on Santa. The wizard blasts the fighter rogue, who responds in kind. The party is badly hurt and the drow continue to attack. Santa tumbles away and is able to magically escape. The party has to literally run for their lives, which is possible only because the drow have died in such great numbers that their fury is overtaken by their fear. No presents nor goodwill were delivered that year...
Kirth Gersen wrote:
I have to thumbs down your entire statement on the premise that can simply kill off Faceman and Hannibal, or that BA can be killed at all. The A-Team is rife with fudged rolls. And I would definitely shed a tear for Murdock.
It is clear that a flat-footed combatant can't normally make attacks of opportunity. However, I can't find anything that speaks to combatants who have lost their dexterity bonus to AC and attacks of opportunity. I am left to believe that these combatants are therefore allowed to make an AoO. Is this correct?
Ever seen Metalocalypse on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim? You could use Nathan Explosion's suggestion that the Christmas Spirit is "a ghost who kills children." Oh and throw in an evergreen tree with Faerie Fire and Dancing Lights cast on it, then possibly recruit the party to deliver some toys and rescue Yule-Father.
I have very little experience with the highest experience levels of the game, but the only three Wish-type experiences I can think of happpen to all involve me, in the 3.5 days. My mid-level marshall, heavily burdened by both corrruption and taint, made a bargain with a glabrazu and gained a wish that yielded a cloak of charisma +6. My high level cleric sacrificed a celestial to Graz'zt and, thanks to an awesome religion skill check, the offering was pleasing to the dark master, and I was able to wish for full-plate +5. This was crucial because hee had recently been freed from a Mud to Stone trap when the wizard cast Disintegrate at the stone. *Every* *single* item I owned failed it's saving throw against the spell, and I was literally naked and without a single posession. The same character a few levels later was facing the seemingly final villain of the campaign and things were not going well for the party. Half the group was dead. I performed a Miracle (which is like Wish, right?), paid 5000 XP, went down in level, and instantaneously resurrected my fallen allies. We had to flee, but returned with all the proper spells prepped. This time around I cast Disintegration, which rebounded back at me thanks to Spell Turning, and I failed my own save, which reduced me to dust. My allies won the battle though and the wizard, as he was adjaccent to me at the time, was able to brush some of my dusty remains from his fur and get me resurrected.
I jumped into a game at level 10 and played a cleric until 18. It was one of my most favorite characters. I had a fighter I played from 1st to 15th, which was fun. My current is a barbarian I have from from 1st to 11th. He's fun to role-play, more than anything else. I have played a level 20 only once in a one-on-one tournament. Starting there was kind of cool to try out, but not fun. Typically I begin at 1st level and the game usually ends before getting to high level.
Monk uses wisdom for an AC bonus, Duelist uses intelligence for the same. You haven't invested in either ability score. With your strength of 7, you are imposing -2 to every damage roll you make, which is a shame for a melee warrior. HP are great, but I would back off on the constitution. Looks like you bought an 18, and its left you with too few points to spend elsewhere. I would also choose between fighter and monk. One or the other. They both get bonus feats, and with either one you will have enough to enter the prestige class on time. The alternative is to not go for duelist.
If you are new to the game, my best advice is for you to be a single classes character. Try it out before you go wild.
1) Continue reading the book and get a stack of character sheets, or just paper to scribble down a bunch of ideas.
2) Given the situation you are in, use this opportunity to make not one but several characters. There are popular favorites of course, but you should be experimenting with ideas of your own.
3) Get one of the people in your group to walk you through their character creation process. You might discover a rule you understood incorrectly or missed, or a method that helps you a bunch. Some people pick a class/race combo that appeals to their sense of fun, some people choose something they haven't had a chance played yet, some choose an old favorite to improve on a past experience.
4) Remember to have fun.
And as a fighter, your party will expect you to have skills like this covered, particularly at lower levels when there isn't a magical solution to every problem, and at higher levels for emergencies.
Looks like a pretty good doc. I have to admit I skimmed it, but I did read some sections that jumped out at me. I hope you continue to add to it, as well as edit what you already have. The information is well thought, and your layout is coming along nicely.
One thing I wanted to mention is in regards to your section on planting a hook early on and comparing that to the first few minutes of a TV show. You rightly address the complaint that RPGs shouldn't be like TV shows, and the alternative of smart phones and spinning dice. I wanted to recommend that you could conclude this section with something that reflects that this is a device to hook ambivalent players, and that eventually, hopefully a GM can earn players' interest in the adventure, and will then no longer need a first-five-minutes-hook in every session. The parallel being that TV shows that last many seasons don't need to work hard to sell themselves to the viewers after the first seasons. They just need good story and content.
I don't have the time to look through the entire write-up, but I'll say a little. The class skill list is interesting. I like it. The first level of this class has absolutely nothing worthwhile to offer. Look at the barbarian, paladin, and ranger. All have a way to way to inflict extra melee damage at first level, as well as another feature or two. Your has a +1 to hit in a situation that seldom arises.
As for the combat focuses, I would follow an "even numbered level" formula like rage powers, rogue talents, etc. I would also create more choices unique to the class. At levels 5 and 13 I would create a new class feature.