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This is a continuation from part 1
Not only are our playtest group behind in the test schedule, but I am also very late in typing up my notes. But I promised my GM to do it, so here goes.
We lost the third player in our group; first he had scheduling problems and then he had to quit due to health problems - genuinely so, no hidden rage quit or something like that.
Down to just two players we pondered what to do. First we tried doing a society scenario with two characters at a slightly higher level than the scenario was written for, but then we decided to play two characters each, and continue to work our way through Doomsday Dawn as far as we could.
So, our Gnome Barbarian was retired, and two new characters created. Also, the new Heritages had just arrived, so the half-elf rogue and the elf bard were both turned into cavern elves. The new party line-up was:
* Arami, cavern elf maestro bard.
* Keyt, cavern elf rogue.
* Shimmer, svirfneblin gnome primal sorceress.
* Frag, dwarf fighter. Yes, that *is* an Old Norse dwarf name, taken from the Völuspa of the Poetic Edda - same place Tolkien got his dwarf names.
Common theme? Well, due to the race changes in update 1.4, we all now had darkvision, making sneaking around in dark dungeons a cinch. Our GM was less than amused, especially as he had already worked out a way to sneak around with a torch during our previous session.
Our game is set in the World of Greyhawk and tied to our GMs other campaigns, so the name of gods etc have been changed.
=Continuing the story=
The party had left the dungeon to procure some holy symbols of Selene, which we hoped would take us past a statue trap. Visiting the Selene temple, we decided to make a full report to the clergy there in order to gain their favour. Our GM decided that getting their attention was a trivial level 5 diplomacy task. With a roll of 21, we succeed neatly, and even got a blessing: a +1 conditional bonus on attack and defence versus undead.
=Return to the Dungeon=
Arami and Keyt took point with Shimmer and Frag following as we sneaked back into the dungeon, now without any torchlight. When we reached the big gallery where we had killed several goblins earlier, we got a nasty surprise: Six big centipedes had crawled out of a side room and was feasting on the goblin corpses.
As the two point characters had declared a Sneaking tactics, our GM decided that our Stealth rolled for initiative would decide whether the centipedes had seen us or not. (Yes, we do find scouting under the given Exploration rules very confusing, and our GM has changed his mind on how to interpret them several times.)
Shimmer declared that she would bolt one of the centipedes with a cantrip to start the fight, luring them into the rogue's caltrops and the fighter's attack of opportunity. The GM decided that this meant that she would roll Nature for initiative.
Keyt, rogue: Stealth 27 (got to take 20 because of wall between her and the centipedes)
Arami, bard: Stealth 24 (also got to take 20 for the same reason)
Shimmer, sorceress: Nature 10
Frag, fighter: Stealth 15
Centipedes: Perception 21
Our plan had suddenly failed - not only did Shimmer end up last even though she was supposed to start the fight, but she had also been spotted by the Centipedes since their perception was higher than her nature, as well as having misjudged the distance - the centipedes were 35 feet away, longer than the range of her cantrip. Did we say we thought the Exploration rules were confusing?
Keyt: moved forward, spread caltrops in a choke point.
Arami: Inspire Courage, then hid: Stealth 20.
Centipede 1: 2 x move to close, which triggered Frag's attack of opportunity: 23 to hit, crit for 17 damage. Centipede killed.
Centipede 2: 2 x move. Entered caltrops, failed save and took 1 damage + 1 bleed. Bit Frag: Nat 20, crit, 4 damage + venom. Frag saved successfully versus the venom.
Centipede 3: 2 x move. Successfully saved versus the caltrops. Bit Shimmer: 20 to hit, 2 damage. Shimmer failed to save versus venom and became flatfooted.
The rest of the centipedes found conditions too crowded and kept eating goblin corpses.
Frag: Tried to hit centipede 2: nat 1 - miss. Tried again: 10 to hit, miss. Tried a Brutal Shove: crit fail.
Shimmer: Moved to the rear. Took out an antidote. Drank it. Took 6 damage from the venom, then rolled 12 vs the save DC of 13, which moved her to affliction stage 2.
-- Round 2 --
Keyt: backstabbed and killed centipede 3. Hit and then missed centipede 2, which was left at 2 hp.
Arami: hit and killed centipede 2 with her whip. She then cast Soothe on Shimmer for 10 hp.
Centipede 4: now noticed there was room to reach the fight. 2 x move, which triggered an attack of opportunity from Frag: miss. Bit Frag: 18 to hit, 3 damage. Frag successfully saved versus the venom.
Centipede 5: 2 x move. Bit Keyt: 22 to hit, 3 damage. Keyt successfully saved with a 14.
Centipede 6: 2 x move into outflank vs Keyt. Bit: nat 20, 6 damage. Fort save failed, which brought Keyt to affliction stage 1.
Frag: struck outflanked centipede 5: 24 to hit, crit, killed. Brutal shove versus centipede 4: miss. Struck centipede 4: 16 to hit, killed.
-- Round 3 --
Arami: Move. Inspire Courage. Trip centipede 6: 12, successful!
Keyt: struck centipede 6: miss. Struck again: 11 damage, killed, which means all centipedes had now been killed. Drew an antidote. Took 3 damage from the venom, then failed her save, which took her to stage 2.
Shimmer: took 4 damage from venom. Rolled 12 on the save, which kept her at stage 2.
-- Round 4 --
Keyt: Drank antidote. Tried Treat Poison: critical failure. took 3 damage, and then saved with a 17, which brought her to stage 1.
Shimmer: 2-action Heal on Keyt for 9 hp. Took 2 hp from venom. Failed save, stayed at stage 2.
-- Round 5 --
Keyt: Move. Treat Poison on Shimmer: fail. Treat Poison on herself: success. Took 5 damage from venom. Save 12: fail, took her back to stage 2.
Shimmer: 2-action Heal on Keyt for 5 hp. Took 3 hp from venom. Saved, taking her to stage 1.
-- Round 6 --
Keyt: Treat Poison on Shimmer: fail. Treat Poison on herself: fail. Treat Poison on herself: fail. Took 6 damage from venom. Save: fail, stayed at stage 2.
Shimmer: 2-action Heal on herself: 7 hp. Took 1 damage from venom. Failed save, but effect ends.
Arami: Soothe on Keyt for 9 hp.
-- Round 7 --
Keyt: Treat Poison on herself: fail. Treat poison on herself: success. 1 damage from venom. Failed save, stayed at stage 2.
-- Round 8 --
Keyt: Treat Poison on herself: fail. Treat Poison on herself: fail. Treat Poison on herself: fail. 1 damage from venom, effect ends.
-- Fight Over --
The fight is over after 3 rounds of fighting and 5 rounds of bouncing up and down along the affliction track. The latter was not exciting at all, only *incredibly* tedious.
After this we rebelled and decided to cheat a bit, giving Frag the medicine skill in case anything like this ever happened again. With his assistance the party was fit for fight again the next day. I'm *not* going to write down the rolls that was required!
== Next Day ==
After all that it was nice to see that the chapel room had improved since last time we visited it. The water was shimmering and shining and altogether pleasant.
The door that went in the direction we wanted, according to Talga's map, had already been unlocked by Keyt the first time we were here, so it was no trouble. Keyt approached the Selene statue with the holy symbol she had been given by the Selene temple, and nothing happened - the trap did not trigger. We all passed by the same way without incident.
Keyt checked the next door for first traps, and then to see if it was locked. She realised that it was simply stuck, which meant it was a job for Frag.
Frag tackled the door with a mighty Athletics roll of 22, which means it was a crit. Looking up the effect of a Break Open
crit, we found that this meant that the door was "not destroyed", which gave us a good laugh.
Our GM ruled that such a good roll meant that Frag could keep it and use it as his initiative roll, and that the others got to roll their Stealth because of surprise. (Still trying to puzzle out the transition from Exploration to Encounter mode.)
== Drakus Fight ==
Frag, fighter: Athletics 22 (kept from before, see above)
Shimmer, sorceress: Stealth 22
Arami, bard: Stealth 21
Keyt, rogue: Stealth 13
Drakus: Perception 18.
-- Round 1 --
Frag: Moved, closing with Drakus. GM read up if Drakus should get an attack of opportunity here, but decided that by the room description Drakus would still be unarmed, especially as we surprised him with that crit Break Open roll. Frag struck Drakus with a Power Attack: nat 20, 32 damage. Drakus became bloodied by the first strike.
Shimmer: Move. Cast Fear on Drakus. Drakus saved and became Frightened 1.
Arami: Move. Inspire Courage. Trip with whip: 20, success. Drakus fell prone.
Drakus: Rose up, which triggered an attack of opportunity from Frag: Nat 1. Drew weapon. Struck Frag: 18 to hit, 7 damage.
-- Round 2 --
Frag: Step. Power Attack: 19 to hit, 12 damage, which killed Drakus.
-- Fight over --
Arami tried Occultism to identify Drakus: 7, fail.
We examined the altar and found some possible loot: an expert longsword, two potions, a silver holy symbol and an expert studded leather - but not the jewellery we were looking for.
Arami cast Soothe on Frag for 7 hp.
== Small Chapel ==
The first door out of the room could be opened with a key Drakus had. Keyt looked for traps, but found none.
After some stairs going up, we found a little chapel, spotlessly clean - even suspiciously clean. There we found a book, a magic dagger, and a silver bowl with holy water.
Arami rolled a 19 on Occultism and realised that the funeral prayer in the book could be used to cleanse the altar in Drakus room.
Looking in the bowl gave a vision of us looking older ("But we are elves, can you really see that? - Hush!") and the stars going out ("Oh, like in the Nine Billion Names of God!")
Arami cleaned and cleansed the altar, while Keyt and Frag impatiently kept guard. Shimmer got to make a secret nature roll, which the GM then stated failed...
When the cleansing was done, we saw a vision of happy souls passing through the room, and our GM informed us we had received Selene's Blessing, and that we should remind him if we ever were dying.
== Cave ==
The other exit from Drakus room led to a rough cave that smelled of blood and sweat. In the room was one open and one closed chest - and everybody immediately started looking at the closed one. Frag immediately saw a trap on it.
Once again our GM was frustrated as the scenario did not say if multiple successes were needed or not to remove the trap and unlock the chest, as has been stated elsewhere.
Keyt tried to remove the trap:
Thievery 17 - fail
Thievery nat 1 - critical failure. Trap rolled 26 versus Keyt - hit. Keyt saved: nat 1 - poison stage 2.
Here everybody groaned, remembering the affliction ordeal from the centipedes. At least now Frag was trained in Medicine.
-- Round 1 --
Frag: Treat Poison on Keyt: success.
Arami: Handed Keyt an antidote.
Keyt: Drank antidote. Damage 4, drained 2, save successful, which took her to stage 1
-- Round 2 --
Frag: Treat Poison on Keyt: 3 x fail.
Keyt: Treat poison on herself: success. Damage 2, save failed, which took her to stage 2.
-- Round 3 --
Frag: Treat Poison on Keyt: 2 x fail, 1 success.
Shimmer: Heal on Keyt for 11 hp.
Keyt: 5 damage, save failed, now stage 3.
-- Round 4 ---
Frag: Treat Poison on Keyt: success.
Arami: Soothe on Keyt for 6 hp
Keyt: 8 damage, then effect is over.
-- Affliction roll-off done --
Finally, Keyt was able to have a go at picking the lock on the chest. Keyt has a tactic. I'm not sure I understand it, but it hangs on switching between improvised and regular picks depending on how many accumulated successes you have. She has run computer simulations on it until she was satisfied.
So Keyt started with her improvised picks - a big bag of nails.
After 32 rolls (yes, thirty-two) she had her first success, which according to her tactics meant she could switch to her regular lockpicks.
After two rolls, she got a critical fail, which would mean back to the bag of nails.
Here we gave up, and let Frag go to town on the chest with a crowbar: and he immediately got a natural 20 on Athletics to Break Open the chest. The chest opened nicely without damaging any of the contents.
Here the GM revealed that the same key that opened the door to the small chapel would have opened the chest. This stunned Keyt. "How can a key that opened an original ancient door also open this regular chest - the locks ought to have been made separately!?" The GM could not really answer that.
Inside the chest we found a lot of stolen goods, including the jewellery we were looking for. We decided that we would return the stolen goods to the rightful owners, and the Selene relics to her temple. As a reward we got a free 3rd lvl item pick. As we had what we came for, we left the dungeon.
We finished with a big data dump of background info that I will not repeat here.
== Conclusions ==
Appx 2 h 45 mins used for session.
No Hero Points used. No Death saves. Nowhere near running out of resonance.
Making an all-darkvision party is very tempting for dark dungeons.
The massive dice-rolling for poisons and opening locks are just long boring slog where you grow impatient to continue with the story.
GM comments (I GMed this).
Thanks a lot Mats for doing this, the hero point is in the mail.
About ancestry choices: I don't mind darkvision at all. What I mind is the new exotic people who are suddenly the new standard: cave elves and svirfneblin. Grey (skin color) is the new umbra.
As expected, the primal sorceress sucked. Her contribution was limited to barely saving herself from giant centipede poison and making some Knowledge checks. Ah, she also did put frightened 1 on the end boss for half a round.
The fighter ruled even more than expected, but some of that was from good rolls at critical moments and Inspire Courage running almost continually. Still the MVP by a wide margin.
PF2 is a game of insanely long sequences of rolls. It felt like half the session was taken up with poisons and lockpicking. Probably not correct, it likely seems to take more time than it actually does because it is such a giant waste of time. Still, this should change, especially out of encounter mode.
Fights are fun and quick and work pretty well, as long as no poison on continuous damage is involved. A bit of rocket tag at 1st level.