Okay, so we know a lot more now. 60 hours or so is NOT a lot of time. Weapons training is necessary, but I think our top priority has got to be getting the palisade repaired. The archers will be a ton more effective shooting from above (+1 bonus for higher ground) and with partial cover from the wall to help keep them alive.
Similarly, we don't have a lot of melee types; if they get swarmed from all sides they're in trouble. With an intact palisade in place, the orcs are pretty likely to go for the gate. That lets us shape the battle by concentrating them in one area where Perrin's AoE will be most effective, and also let our melee types not worry that they're going to get attacked from behind.
It sounds like they're planning on attacking in the dark. We'll need light sources. Since Light only allows one active casting at a time, that means torches or lanterns.
Along those lines, may I suggest buckets of sand for extinguishing fires? If they set fire to our wooden palisade, that's a problem.
All right so Vors spent the first half of his morning in the interrogation as did Mel. Hirda spent the first half of her morning training melee combatants (rolls pending) while Mel spent the second half of her morning training archers.
How is everyone else spending their time?
Also, Mel and Hirda, are there particular feats or simple weapon proficiencies you are training the villagers in?
After speaking with the Noltons, Mel, and some reluctant townspeople, Perrin returns to his lab to get some more work done. It takes about two hours to finish the scroll, and he also spends some time mixing the acid and gathering supplies for Mel's arrows. He returns to the rest of the town when they're ready to start fixing up the palisade.
Speaking of which, I definitely agree with Mel that the palisade should be a top priority. We can hide some traps by the gate, and then Perrin can toss a web spell on it when the orcs try to come through.
And fire is definitely a serious threat as well. Palisade aside, we don't want our beloved town to end up in flames. I was thinking Perrin could craft up some sunrods tomorrow - not only do they take away some of the risk of inferno, the light can easily be covered until needed so the orcs don't know we're waiting for them. But we can also take a few other steps - Perrin can prepare create water and steer clear of fire spells, and we can fill the bag of holding with water from the river for an emergency.
Oh, and are we ready to send the rider to Astin now? We seem to have gotten the relevant information from Halak: there are probably at least a dozen orcs and some sort of beast, they're attacking us on the way to the trading post, and they tend to strike at new moon or whenever their target is weakest. Any help we could get would be very useful.
@Perrin: let's hold off on the rider. We only have three mules, and we need that palisade up pronto.
EDIT: Nevermind, I looked back over the thread and I've been miscounting our mules. We've got six total, so we could totally send a rider.
@GM: Weapon Proficiency seems like the best choice. That -4 penalty hurts a lot.
Specifically, proficiency with longbows for six of them, since we have that many spare longbows sitting around. Shortbow proficiency for the rest, since we have two of those and Mel can make more a lot faster than longbows.
If any of the humans Mel is training have their bonus feat available, she'd like to try for Point-Blank Shot.
Also @GM: Hey, Rush Junction is on the same river, we're on, right? Is Rush Junction upstream or downstream of us? And is the river deep enough that a gillman could swim to Rush Junction and warn them?
Going underwater along the river would be safer than going overland -- orcs not being aquatic, after all -- and if the current is running the right way, it might well be faster than walking.
Err, question: who exactly is eligible for Mel's training? Can I assume it's all the Dex-based adult villagers except Reinala?
If so, then I see 12 candidates. 80% of 12 is 9.6. Could we say the .6 is a human who got proficiency but doesn't get Point-blank shot? Or should I round up or down?
You can include teenagers if you decide to train them for combat. I'm leaving it up to the party whether or not to put teenagers into the fight.
Round to the nearest integer. If something ends up exactly at 9.5, for example, round to the nearest even number (10 in that case).
Here's a die roll for use in a PM to the GM.
1d20 ⇒ 9
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All right, you guys have broken me. Mel's confrontation and Perrin's Faustian bargain was the last straw. This stuff is just too high quality. From now on, I'm awarding hero points for really excellent material, be it fantastic character conflict, detailed and captivating roleplay, or heroic actions, you get hero points. Not quite the same as the normal system in that you only get them by GM award. But they can be used for all of the standard uses listed below. They cannot be used to cheat death. Hirda (fantastic, solid roleplay and character development throughout), Vors (interrogation and general interaction with Halak), Mel (confrontation of Perrin and some other stuff), and Perrin (interaction with little girl and Faustian bargain) all get 1 hero point. Honestly, these are just a few instances, you guys have been nailing it.
Disclaimer: My hero point mechanic is different than the RAW. You can only have 1 hero point at a time so it's up to you whether or not saving it is worthwhile. Further, I'm house-ruling that using a hero point deals 1d6 of damage to the user as pushing yourself past your limits takes a physical toll. Hero points may only be used in combat for one of the following purposes.
Act Out of Turn: You can spend a hero point to take your turn immediately. Treat this as a readied action, moving your initiative to just before the currently acting creature. You may only take a move or a standard action on this turn.
Bonus: If used before a roll is made, a hero point grants you a +8 luck bonus to any one d20 roll. If used after a roll is made, this bonus is reduced to +4. You can use a hero point to grant this bonus to another character, as long as you are in the same location and your character can reasonably affect the outcome of the roll (such as distracting a monster, shouting words of encouragement, or otherwise aiding another with the check). Hero Points spent to aid another character grant only half the listed bonus (+4 before the roll, +2 after the roll).
Extra Action: You can spend a hero point on your turn to gain an additional standard or move action this turn.
Inspiration: If you feel stuck at one point in the adventure, you can spend a hero point and petition the GM for a hint about what to do next. If the GM feels that there is no information to be gained, the hero point is not spent.
Recall: You can spend a hero point to recall a spell you have already cast or to gain another use of a special ability that is otherwise limited. This should only be used on spells and abilities possessed by your character that recharge on a daily basis.
Reroll: You may spend a hero point to reroll any one d20 roll you just made. You must take the results of the second roll, even if it is worse.
Woo hoo, we broke the GM! Mission accomplished. ^_^
Just as a point of interest, while writing my most recent post, I was listening to the song "The Council of Elements" from the album "Memoria" on loop.
Okay gang, we need to figure out whether the teens are fighting or not. I need to know so I can work out how many people get trained with bows.
I'm inclined to say we should ask them individually. Some may want to fight; others not. And we can find non-combat uses for the ones who don't want to -- assisting with the injured, tending the younger children, and so on.
GM, logically we should have done this earlier. Can we have done a poll of the teens earlier and just retroactively declare that the appropriate ones took part in weapons training?
Okay; whether they want to fight or not is something you'd have to decide, since they're NPCs. Maybe a fresh column on the NPC spreadsheet indicating each one as melee, ranged, or non-combatant?
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On Vors' checklist, we've done everything except the last two. We did checks to train the villagers, but we need to work out which villagers get which feats and which equipment.
Let's see. Bows and arrows are my thing. We have:
6x longbows from the orc camp
2x shortbows from villagers (Jonathan Golightly, Thomas Nolton)
4x shortbows Mel has crafted (120 gp out of 125 gp of crafting)
50 arrows Mel had at the start
20 arrows from Cyrus' effects
50 arrows crafted by Mel's students on day 1
??? arrows crafted by Mel's students on day 2
100 arrows crafted by Mel on day 2 (remaining 5 gp of her crafting)
15 arrows (Thomas Nolton)
20 arrows (Jonathan Golightly)
50 arrows (orc camp)
Total: 305 arrows plus however many Mel's students made on day 2.
I think we're probably good for arrows!
Thomas probably took his shortbow with him on the ride to Astin, so that leaves us with 12 bows total: 6 longbows, 5 shortbows, and Mel's own bow, for a total of 12 archers.
We can give each of our 12 archers 25 arrows and have 5 left over. Mel will take the spare 5. Oh, and just as a note, Mel's arrows are out of her own supply; she doesn't want any made using materials from Perrin's lab. :-Þ
mwk composite longbow - Mel
longbow - Ursa Dorner
longbow - Orin Tollin
longbow - Judith Sindal
longbow - Karen Golightly
longbow - Alexandra Higgins
longbow - Orgel
shortbow - Jonathan Golightly
shortbow - Whisky
shortbow - Pats
shortbow - Nancy Yenwood (small, 1d4 damage)
shortbow - Roger Tomfoot (small, 1d4 damage)
Vors, if you would like Reinala to be an archer, then we'll sub her in for Orgel.
From training, I'd like to give proficiency with their appropriate bows to everyone. The humans should get Weapon Focus for their bow as their bonus feat. I believe that their attack rolls look something like this:
Humans - assuming their racial +2 is not in Dex
+2 = +1 Dex, +1 Weapon Focus
Ratfolk, Whisky and Pats
+2 = +2 Dex (12 base + 2 racial = 14 Dex = +2 mod)
Halflings, Nancy and Roger
+3 = +2 Dex (12 base + 2 racial = 14 Dex = +2 mod), +1 size bonus
And as it turns out, it doesn't matter whether the teens want ranged weapons or not, because we haven't got enough to go around.
And here's a total of our armory of melee weapons, excluding any held/claimed by PCs:
Earthbreaker - Hurin Rockhill
Longsword - Allen Dorner
Longspear - Strisgar
1x mwk greataxe
4x short spears
2x mwk longswords
1x cold iron dagger
1x heavy mace
3x mwk clubs
I won't allocate those; that's up to Vors and Hirda, I think.
I assume that in a village there are enough knives to go around that everyone can have at least a dagger or equivalent, or a club if all else fails.
Mel is going to take the masterwork chain shirt from the unfortunate young mother, Orc Scout 2, if no one minds. It would encumber her if she was carrying all her gear, but I think I'll have her leave most of her stuff someplace for safekeeping. I'm pretty sure that will work out encumbrance-wise, but I'll double check when I get home this evening. If it's going to encumber her, though, I won't use it. The attack penalty is just unacceptable.
That leaves the following armor available for allocation to villagers:
7x scale mail
1x chain shirt
1x mwk chain shirt
Either a lamellar leather cuirass OR a mwk chain shirt (depending on which Mel uses)
Vors and Hirda both upgraded their armor out of loot from the orc camp. That means their starting armor is also available to be used by villagers. I don't remember what they were wearing. Sadly, Cyrus' armored coat got pretty thoroughly ruined by those axe blows.
I suggest that the melee types should get the armor. The archers are better off retreating and shooting from range anyway.
Potions: did those four potions listed as unidentified in the orc loot ever get id'ed? If not, we should do that.
GM, it would be good to have an updated map showing the repaired palisade and where we've placed the traps so that we can figure out how to position people.
Yes those potions were IDed. Perrin has that information. Here is the map updated as I understand your preparations.
Note that the traps occupy a 5-foot square within those 20 ft squares so a creature passing through has a 50% chance of activating a trap.
We can resolve checks for Mel's students on day 2 in gameplay but you do have a solid stock of arrows.
In terms of weapons, I know it's not exactly Mel's specialty, but it might be worth it for her to make a few slings before the day is out. They don't have a listed cost, so we can probably just put some together pretty quickly from materials lying around, and they can fire really cheap bullets or even ordinary stones. Commoners can pick them as their simple weapon proficiency without even having to spend a feat on it, and while the damage is low they can add their strength bonus if they have one. Even the move action reload shouldn't be a problem if they're up on the palisade, since they won't normally need to move around. I'd say give any teenager who wants to fight a sling or a javelin and let them do their part.
On a different note, remember that first level commoners can't learn Weapon Focus because they don't have base attack bonus +1. You should probably give them Point-Blank Shot instead, but there might be other useful options.
In terms of armor, Perrin has an extra set of hide he's not using since he upgraded to a breastplate. Scale mail is probably better overall, but it's available if any of the villagers want it.
Huh, yeah! Good catch. GM, swap in Point-Blank Shot for Weapon Focus on those stats for the humans. The attack bonus stays the same, and it also gives them +1 damage within 30 feet, which is nice.
Yes, Reinala can pick up a bow, and we’ll give Orgel another melee weapon.
I was wearing scale mail before I took the breastplate.
Hirda, let me know what you think of the following:
Sarah Golightly - likely taking care of infant, but if not...
Darba Rockhill -
Taron Stoney -
Yilla Stoney -
Abigail Dorner - MWK Greataxe (Martial Proficiency, Improved Initiative)
Kelian Falchen - MWK Longsword (Martial proficiency, improved initiative)
Silas Tollin - MWK Longsword (Martial proficiency, improved initiative)
Scatton Tollin - Greataxe (Martial proficiency, improved initiative)
Aimin (Gillfolk) -Greataxe (Martial proficiency, improved initiative)
Sendal (Gillfolk) - Greataxe (Martial proficiency, improved initiative)
Orgel (Gillfolk) - kukri (weapon finesse, dodge)
Sally Tomfoot - short sword (weapon finesse, dodge) 1d4 dam
I agree that the teenagers should just get slings, maybe clubs as backup weapons.
Also, shameless plug: You guys are some of the better pbp players I've encountered. I'm starting another campaign as a couple others are wrapping up. I'd love to see submissions from any of you guys over there but I understand there are limits to how much pbp we can fit in our lives. :D
|Hirda of Kirin|
Whoops! got a little copy/paste happy. Let me see about fixing that later this evening (just checking in quyick here), but removing improved initiative makes sense to me.
Thanks for the invite for the other game! Premise looks tons of fun, though I'm also in one other right now, GMing Hell's Rebels, and about to co-gm another. The spring and summer are really going to pick up for my family (we'll be traveling a bunch in May/June, and likely to move in July), so I better stay back for now and just lurk, maybe dot the gameplay thread to keep up with things and, when everything settles down, see if you need a replacement at any point in the future.
|Titania Evangeline Snow-fell|
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@Vors: Sure thing. I knew you guys were probably pretty occcupied but wanted to let you guys know since I'm very inclined to have you guys in more campaigns. A replacement very well may be needed given how lethal this campaign will be and the ever-present attrition in Pbp.
@Titania: No problem. See you around!
Okay, so, here's my thinking regarding positioning. Some of it depends on assumptions which may not be correct. I am assuming:
1) The guard tower is centered in M5 -- the isometric rendering makes it a little hard to tell exactly where it is.
2) The squares on the Brookside map are 20 feet edge to edge.
Mel has a masterwork composite longbow, with a range increment of 110 feet. If she is standing in the guard tower, dead center in M5, then it's ten feet to the lines on either side of that square, meaning her base range extends five squares beyond that.
If that's all correct, then her range from the tower looks something like this:
Green = 1st range increment, no penalty.
Yellow = 2nd range incrememnt, -2 attack penalty.
Red = 3rd range increment, -4 attack penalty.
Obviously there are buildings and walls in the way. Attackers may benefit from partial cover, full cover, or simply be behind something and untargetable. Still, it gives her quite a wide striking range, and probably a +1 bonus on the attack rolls for having higher ground.
But! It also severely reduces her mobility. If I recall correctly, that tower is 30 feet tall, which means it's either a double-move action to get down the ladder (ladders are slow) or else a move action and an Acrobatics check to get down faster without falling. Leaping off the edge is an option, but unattractive due to falling damage, which would hurt even with a passed Acrobatics check to lessen the blow.
It also reduces her ability to coordinate the archers. It would be hard to yell that far and be heard over the general din of battle.
I think I talked myself out of the tower. Maybe she should take up a position on the catwalk by the gate, on the south side thereof.
I welcome thoughts.
Oh, and GM, regardless of where Mel ends up, I would like to specify that we take a couple of ropes up into the guard tower, tie them to it, and leave them coiled at the top. That way if the people up there need to bail out, the can throw the ropes over the side, slide down them and run. Also we should put some scraps of cloth or something up there so they don't burn their hands sliding down.
Your understanding of the range involved is correct, as is the height of the tower. Both in the tower and on the catwalk, standing medium creatures have partial cover. Crouching creatures have cover. Small creatures need a box to stand on in order to see over the wall but would then have the same situation.
Gotcha on the ropes and cloths.
Just in case it comes up, you all would be relatively aware of the following map, thanks to a combination of Mel's knowledge of geography and the local experience many of you have had over the years. Also, I like getting better at map-making so here's some quick practice. XD
I once ran a combat with seventy-ish participants. About half of them were druids ranging in level from 2 to 6, plus one level 11 druid. And the other half were about 30 corrupt fey, none of whom were the same species as any other, so they all had different AC/saves/attacks/abilities.
It was a good experience ... which I never hope to repeat! Because I was crazy. ^_^
So GM, I feel your pain. You've got your hands full with 40-odd villagers and a couple-dozen orcs to keep track of. At least you had the good sense to make only a few types of baddie (orc archer, orc fighter, karak, scary orc cleric).
Haha. That sounds completely horrible. Except it sounds completely awesome.
Mel, as chief archer, if you want to help me out by assigning positions to the ranged villagers (e.g. south palisade, north palisade, west palisade, medical station), please do. The sheet is hopefully editable.
I'm not clear on where we are in initiative at the moment. Are the orcs done? Are we on NPC actions? If so, are they waiting for instructions? Or are we in PC actions?
Just a heads up, the villagers might benefit from some more direction. They don't know Mel and she can't give suggestions to all of them. Combat happens and someone who is only slightly trained won't get an attack off every 6 seconds.
On a lighter note, I think the MVP damage dealer so far in this fight might be Cyrus.
Let's see. A brief metagame analysis.
A level 1 commoner with 10 Con has, on average, 3 hit points. Let's be generous and assume they put their favored class bonus into HP, for a total of 4 on average.
The melee orcs cannot deal less than 11 damage on a hit; so for them, one hit basically means one kill. They have a +10 to attack. Our best-armored villagers (seven of them) have 15 AC (10 DEX, scale mail), so those berserkers have an 80% chance of killing one villager per round. They have more effective hit points than they might otherwise, due to orc ferocity.
The ranged orcs are slightly less lethal; with no static modifiers to their damage, they have to roll a 4+ to reduce a villager to 0 hp (62.5% chance), or a 5+ to put one at -1 (50% chance).
The leader has pretty good AC -- 20 appears to have hit, while 19 did not -- and he's at least a level 7 cleric, so we haven't seen his best spells yet by any means. It's peculiar that he has Channel Positive Energy; usually clerics of Zon-Kuthon only have access to negative channeling.
But it's actually probably good for us, because average damage on a single 3d6 negative channel would kill every villager in a 30 foot radius of him even if they pass their saves.
In short: things are looking grim.
Funny description of Cyrus/Mel's dice curse. Thankfully, Mel just rolled really high on her con and cha checks. That's a big deal.
I gave the villagers full hit die at first level, just like you guys, fyi. So 7 hp unless they have a con bonus (Dwarves).
No comment on leader. For now.
Now might be a good time to start spending those hero points - after all, they won't be much use to our corpses. Perrin's probably going to use his to recall a burning hands or web spell when the time is right, but for now I'm thinking he'll start burning channels to keep the southern archers on their feet.
As for the leader, maybe he's a life oracle? Or hey, maybe the orcs are secretly undead.
Woo, you're not kidding, GM -- the boss orc just took 44 damage in one round. Pity none of those crit threats were confirmed, but that's gotta hurt nonetheless.