Lord Iriam's page

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Grab: Standard action to start the grab as long as one hand is free. Minor action to sustain the grab. To move with a grabbed target requires a standard action. Grabbed target is immobilized.

1. Assumption one-handed melee or ranged weapon and off-hand is free (no shield, potion, etc.). That means if I successfully grab and use a minor action to sustain, as long as I don't move I can use a standard action to perform a basic melee/ranged attack or use a power that doesn't move any squares.

2. Grabbed target is immobilized, meaning the target can use the standard action to attack with a basic melee/ranged attack or use a power that doesn't move any squares but not move. The target can continue to beat down on the grabber if desired.

I saw no mention of penalties for attacks. I imagine the common scenario of the hero being grabbed from behind and an enemy punching him in the stomach. Moments later the adventurer uses the cleave power to kick the puncher and cleaves the grabber with an elbow thrust, or vice-versa. I like being creative in the description and not always enforcing the rules to the letter, such as using the body in this case instead of the weapon while still inflicting the same damage.

If helpless allies are considered objects, then why not willing allies. A PC could drag an ally half his movement rate as a standard action. Though I probably wouldn't recommend it as a common strategy, an immobilized ally could be dragged via the grab option while the immobilized ally continues to attack. Of course, now everyone wants to hire a henchman to drag them around the battlefield and hand them potions and other items. Sorry. :)

How much XP is a PC worth? As and example, if I create a human NPC warlord, he would be the equivalent of an elite monster at 200 XP. Would PCs be the equivalent of a solo monster at 500 XP? So, it would take 2.5 NPCs (round down to 2 to avoid embarrassment for the .5 guy) to match the power of a PC? My logic is probably way off here, so someone please correct me.

Part of the reasoning here, is how much is this NPC worth to the party? If the NPC has a PC class, then he gets half of everything in a two party adventure (simple example to keep the math easy for all). If an NPC has an NPC class, then he only gets a quarter of the parcels and experience and the PC gets three-quarters of each.

I'm contemplating the costs for PCs to hire NPCs for combat/non-combat services.

What about non-combat services not in a dangerous area such as hiring appropriate staff for the adventurer's simple shop turned guild headquarters? I could wave my hands and say that the maintenance and service fees were already paid by a percentage of the reward from the patron that the PCs never see, though they still receive the same amount of treasure regardless. As they gain levels, their investments could automatically advance at the same rate going with this concept. I guess this could be applied to mundane equipment not found in the PHB with obviously more expensive items like land or the abandoned shop received as quest rewards.

I am DMing a solo campaign for my wife shortly. Her player motivations (DMG p.8) fall under Slayer and Storyteller. She wants to kill lots of monsters with an engaging story. She loves to roleplay, but she wants to keep the plot simple and forthcoming, so she has room to develop her character some and then get back to the action.

Solo Encounter Design
My current plan is to start off with a few encounters with just the PC and add one or two NPCs geared toward story and solving the combat/non-combat encounters that are coming up. I would switch the number of NPCs up and down as I feel is appropriate and adjust encounters accordingly.

I don't want to overburden myself with too many DM controlled PCs. If I substituted the PCs with NPCs (DMG p.186 basically one power per tier, etc.), the options at higher level play should be more manageable and less time-consuming in the long term.

We only have two-hour blocks available after our energy filled, bouncing off the wall, getting into everything, causing you near limitless amounts of frustration, before they melt your heart and make it all worth while hug and kiss followed by a I love you Mommy and Daddy smile, light of our lives children fall asleep. I think I went off point there...ahem, to continue.

Do you recommend creating actual PCs or NPCs to fill the missing roles?

Would a single PC and four NPC allies/henchmen be powerful enough to count as a full party of five, or should I bring the encounter level down one or two?

What is the sweet number of NPCs with a single PC?

What suggestions do you have to run a solo campaign in 4th edition while not forcing her to choose a defender or leader role character?

Primarily, how would you design combat/non-combat encounters to give advantage, or at least even the odds for a single PC?

In this case, my wife would like to start with a ranger geared towards archery. I plan to run a few encounters soon to test how well going solo will work.

In general, what kind of combat/non-combat encounters would you use in a solo campaign? To satisfy a PC with Slayer and Storyteller motivations? Never hurts to have more ideas.

My initial impression of encounter structure is as follows for a 1st level character (I'm sure the options are a little easier at higher levels by filling the XP budget with lower level monsters. One PC vs. one monster, four minions, one trap, and one non-combat encounter complexity one. The monsters should probably be minions, a similar role of the PC, or have an advantage against an opposite role. Non-combat encounters should focus more on the skills of the PC.

Opposite roles: (please correct me if I'm wrong)

  • Defender (Brute, Soldier) vs. Controller (Controller, Artillery)
  • Striker (Lurker, Skirmisher) vs. Leader (Controller, Soldier)

Solo Adventure Design
Initial encounter design (DMG p.196 I'm using Fallcrest as common ground example here and possible link into H1 Keep on the Shadowfell)

The PC is patrolling the woods east of Fallcrest along the King's Road after Lord Warden Faren Markelhay of Fallcrest hears rumors of bandits.

  • PC vs. 1 minion
    (should be simple and within a couple rounds)

    Along King's Road She discovers a bandit looting the corpse of Bavel Slightsoot, a well-known, if not-liked, personal guard for a local halfling merchant, Selarund Halfmoon of the Halfmoon Trading House (common PHB equipment and gear). There is a caravan wagon that provides cover for the bandit if not defeated quickly.

  • PC in difficult terrain with tree cover vs. 4 minions
    (gives her time to pick them off as they come for her)

    If necessary, a short rest, otherwise bandits that heard the encounter catch up just as the ranger begins to head into the forest.

  • PC vs. 1 brute
    (she should be fine)

    This is a potential non-combat encounter called The Rescue presented below. If not, then it's a simple fight in a clearing with a thin tree line forest, simple camp with two large tents with a chest, a campfire, and three caged prisoners, the halfling merchant Selarund Halfmoon, personal guard Percy Glimmershine, and hired guard Bracnor Honourshield. The dwarf can be released as part of the non-combat encounter or can join the fight depending on the mood of the player.

    The chest contains level 1 parcel 3 (magic item +3, my choice for ranger is a frost longbow lvl 3 called Coldwind), and partial parcel 6 (80 gp).

    Selarund and Percy escape back to Fallcrest immediately after recovering their immediate supplies and returns to recover the wagon with additional guards later that day. Bracnor joins up with the PC.

  • PC and 1 NPC ally with height, difficult terrain, and surprise advantage vs. 1 soldier and 4 minions
    (should be easy for the ranger to pick off minions before they reach the PC and NPC ally, though the solider may make it tough, adding the Battle Champion template may complete the boss effect)

    The bandits can't run away, because the PC caught them selling goods to none other than Darian Sandercot, eldest son of Nimena Sandercot of Sandercot Provisions. He spots the PCs shortly after they watch him purchase a few items and put them in his wagon. He orders the bandits to get rid of them or their whole arrangement would be blown. Darian bolts off down the King's Road leaving the bandit leader Galbon Traselle and his minions to deal with the interlopers.

  • Major Quest Success: They return to the Lord Warden to report their dealings with the bandits and Darian Sandercot's involvement. Darian is arrested and they have now made an enemy out of Nimena Sandercot. The bandits have been routed and it will be a season or two before the remaining bandits become a viable threat again.

    Reward: partial parcel 6 (100gp gem)

  • Major Quest Failure: Adventurers retired from the adventure for extended rest or choose to disregard the remaining patrol. Darian was not caught red-handed and the bandits continue to raid the King's Road.

Skill challenge: The Rescue

The PC meets up with an NPC ally, a dwarf fighter named Bracnor Honourshield, Selarund the merchant, and a halfling personal guard named Percy Glimmershine, who all are in separate hanging stick cages with their feet sticking out. Bandit leader Galbon Traselle's younger brother, Ascan Traselle, is poking Bracnor's cage and getting a jolly at watching the dwarf swear and blanch from swinging sickness. The ranger can perform a skill challenge to get the dwarf free so we can laugh as the dwarf kicks his ass, or she can attack the bandit.

The bandit, the cages, and the camp is in a clearing surrounded by trees with little foliage.

The foliage isn't enough to provide cover, just the trees which are spaced every other square.

Complexity: 1 (requires 4 successes before 2 failures - haven't read the errata changes yet)
Primary Skills: Bluff, Insight, Perception, Stealth

  • Acrobatics (easy DCs) Perform an acrobatic stunt to spring off a fallen tree to gain the height required to have cover amongst low hanging limbs and complete the stunt with a roll behind the only foliage available for cover. Offered only once after Perception successfully discovers availability. (I want to encourage creative solutions, easy DCs)
  • Athletics (moderate DCs) Cut the rope to drop the cage. If the PC wants to lower the cage, then request this immediate athletics check to lower the cage.
  • Bluff (moderate DCs) Distract the bandit by throwing a rock or making a disturbance away from the prisoners, so you can move a quarter of the way closer.
  • Diplomacy Starts combat.
  • Insight (moderate DCs) Discover that use of the social use of Bluff, Insight, and Intimidate skills cause automatic failure. Discover that the bandit is cocky, but jumpy. He is easily distracted by rustling of the wind in trees, animal sounds, and just anything else a creative PC may suggest within reason. Provides +2 to Bluff checks to distract the bandit.
  • Intimidate Starts combat.
  • Perception (easy DCs) Discover that along the next quarter of the tree line, there is the potential for cover if the PC performs an acrobatic stunt using the Acrobatics skill. It can only be successfully used once in this encounter. No penalty for failure.
  • Stealth (moderate DCs) Quickly and quietly move from one tree to another, so you can move a quarter of the way closer.

The PC reaches the cage and frees Bracnor. The dwarf takes his revenge upon the bandit by chasing the bandit around the camp until the bandit is killed, knocked unconscious by Bracnor, or knocked unconscious by running into a tree while watching the dwarf. DMs choice of style. I'll choose the tree, because my wife will laugh.
The bandit discovers the PC and combat starts. The PC has the option to release the dwarf during combat to initiate the success portion of the encounter.

Finally, how would you adjust H1 Keep on the Shadowfell and accompanying adventures to work for a solo campaign?

If you read this far, then I thank you for your patience and assistance.

Note: Corrections appreciated