I posted this in the advice thread (under Random Encounter) originally but DeathQuaker said I should try it here.
Last night we were playing "Clash of the Kingslayers". We had an encounter that really frustrated me and kind of angered me.
Now, I don't know if it was run correctly or it is our DMs mistake. First, I know he is running us through a module two levels higher than the party (8th level PCs: Halfling fighter, Gnome rogue, Elf wizard and Human fighter who is the DMs character being run as an NPC). He told me, after I called him on it, that we were being run through a module for 10th level characters.
All of that, in and of itself doesn't bother me too much.
But we had an encounter in the mountains in which, during our overnight watch (which happened on the NPCs watch) we were awakened and told to roll a will save and series of reflex saves. That's it. No initiative rolls, no opportunity to fight back, no options. And we were dealt anywhere from 25 points of damage to 46 points (my wizard's hit points total 56). My PC nearly died in an action with little to no recourse, in an almost instakill.
It felt cheap and like being railroaded. When I said it felt cheap, I was told, "We'll, that's the encounter , it was random and it was a caster level 17 spell."
Does anyone know or is anyone familiar enough with the module to know if that is the case?
Am I being unreasonable feeling railroaded?
Is this just a product of a module being too high for the PCs?
Without digging out the module and looking, I can make one observation.
Just because you're asleep does not necessarily mean you don't get a Perception check. I'll assume the NPC failed the Perception check, but even sleeping characters get a check; the modification to the DC is +10.
(had to go look)
Okay, I see what happened here ... but this encounter should have been along the lines of the following:
Round 1: Fortitude save or deafened.
Round 2: 1d6 acid damage (no save).
Round 3: 6 lightning bolts, 10d6 apiece. Reflex save for half, no two can strike the same target.
Round 4: 5d6 hail damage (no save).
Rounds 5-10: Rain and violent wind gusts (but no damage), with the giant face of an angry dwarven god glaring at you from the storm.
Soooo ... you went through 4 rounds of combat without initiative? That sounds a bit excessive to me. 46 damage from 16d6 is about average; I'm guessing you failed the Reflex save (DC 23 or so, probably).
I'm thinking that by round 2 you'd have been clearly doing a Spellcraft check to identify the obviously unnatural 360-foot wide stormcloud centered on the party, and probably would have done something about it.