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 Post subject: 1-8 The Gleam of Fires, the Throb of Drums
PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:01 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:59 am
Posts: 97
I am running The Gleam of Fires, the Throb of Drums for a group of 3 players, 2 are 1st lvl, one is second lvl. How shall I adjust the combats, going to easy probably won't cut it and lead to a TPK. They walked on foot and want to enter the village, but with 2 Agamassi and 4 troglodytes this is a bit too much. How much am I allowed as GM to reduce the numbers of enemies?


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 Post subject: Re: 1-8 The Gleam of Fires, the Throb of Drums
PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:08 am
Posts: 1365
You are empowered as a GM to adjust encounters to match the capabilities of your group.

While we don't encourage anyone to softball it, neither do we want you to run an event that will certainly result in a TPK.

By the same token, if you know ahead of time that your group can't handle an adventure, then I would strongly suggest you not run said adventure and pick something else.

If you do decide to run the adventure, then adjust the XP award and other rewards downward commensurate with what was actually overcome.

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Henry Lopez
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PCI


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 Post subject: Re: 1-8 The Gleam of Fires, the Throb of Drums
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2019 3:30 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1978
Location: Portland OR
Hi Henry.

I just found this thread. I am pretty sure that I was on this table. As an FYI & something to think about, I want to suggest to you that the Intro label and the advice you gave are (IMO) problematic.

Gleam of Fires is labeled an introductory module. We played it with 1st and 2nd level characters. That was a mistake. The first fight was rough and tested us to our limits. This was AFTER Pete modified the encounter downward to compensate for our lower levels. I couldn't persuade the party to try the second fight and the module essentially ended in failure. Its very possible that as bad as that is, it was the correct decision. I don't know how Pete would have tried to scale the last encounter, but even doing everything right, a TPK seems like a possible-to-likely outcome.

Given that Gleams has an Intro tag, I assumed (wrongly) that it would scale down to first level PCs. Having now taken time to go back and read the 5E version I can see that it is not designed to be played by 1st level PCs. I think that's a big problem for anything with an Intro tag. If this had been my first experience with Arcanis, I'm not sure how eager I would have been to seek a second. Playing a module that felt unbalanced and unwindable is frustrating...If these modules are designed to bring new players into the world of Arcanis then I think they all have to scale down to first level. Or get a different tag.

Pete did scale the encounters. I think that was the right decision given the players that turned up at his table. II think he did a good job as GM. I would play with him again given a chance.)

I am surprised and have some problems with the advice to further dock players of xp. "Objectively," Pete definitely "softball" us in the first encounter in that we faced fewer opponents and the hit points of some of the opponents was reduced. Despite this we were essentially pushed to our characters limits because we were all 1st and second level. We blew through ALL of our expendable resource, we had one person on the ground unconscious and everyone else was beat up. "Subjectively" i don't feel like there was any soft balling of our characters.

If Pete had docked us xp (beyond what happened because we walked away from the final fight) I probably would have been offended as a player. If you show up, fight the good fight, take your lumps & achieve an objective then I think that's the full xp for the encounter. In the alternative there should be differences in xp for people do the easy versus the hard version of mods...

I am surprised to see that there isn't an "APL" for the 5E mods, and I recommend thinking about bringing it back. Its true I remember writing IK mods that ranged from 1-14th levels and that was often ridiculous. Do 6 or 7 versions of stat blocks for each encounter, and the math of making the numbers work out about right, was like doing my taxes in April. But having 3 or 4 sets seems like a good investment in the "Intro" mods & other mods going forward.

My thoughts. Hope they are useful.

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Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: 1-8 The Gleam of Fires, the Throb of Drums
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2019 11:06 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:08 am
Posts: 1365
Eric,

If you look at the title page of the adventure, you'll see that it was written for 3rd level players, but with instructions on the next page on how to adjust for lower level characters.

That's what Pete did for your table, based on your description.

You may disagree with me on the advice, but that's how I've always played things. If a group is softballed, then I lower the xp rewards. I think that's fair. Softball is not the same as adjusting the encounter per the rules outlined in the adventure. Softball means (to me) a GM that waves away encounters or just has an opponent 'drop' because the players were having a tough time.

Lastly, a suggestion is just that. It's not a rule. That's how I would play it and I stand by it. If that's something you don't like or agree with, then ignore it.

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Henry Lopez
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PCI


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 Post subject: Re: 1-8 The Gleam of Fires, the Throb of Drums
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 2:00 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1978
Location: Portland OR
Hi Henry,

I am inching closer to trying to restart Arcanis in Portland with the 5E ruleset after ARP has run out. Looking at Gleams for the first time in 5E was the first real look at an Arcanis mod in that rule format. As an Organizer I find it intimidating that there are no APLs. In Portland I expect a lot of casual people may come in at multiple points. And the lack of APLs will be a problem.

Not sure if anyone else has had this problem or not.

Thanks for the prompt response. I gaven't seen anyone else here talking about the way stats are handled in 5E so i threw it out as something that grabbed my attention.

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Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: 1-8 The Gleam of Fires, the Throb of Drums
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 10:05 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:08 am
Posts: 1365
Eric,

Why start with the 8th adventure, rather than the first? They were designed by the staff to increase in difficulty in proportion with the xp gained from previous adventures.

If your group has already played the previous seven, then I would recommend using the 'Level-up' cert, get them to 4th and continue from there.

Otherwise, you'll have to adjust as noted on the second (or third) page page of the adventure.

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Henry Lopez
President
PCI


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 Post subject: Re: 1-8 The Gleam of Fires, the Throb of Drums
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 9:54 am 

Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:01 am
Posts: 84
From an outsiders viewpoint to the situation it seems that the issue is the labeling of it as an 'intro'. If it's the 8th adventure then characters should be more advanced but seeing that label may make a GM mistakenly believe it's an introductory adventure scaled to 1st level characters as is the wont.


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 Post subject: Re: 1-8 The Gleam of Fires, the Throb of Drums
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 1:30 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1978
Location: Portland OR
mininin wrote:
From an outsiders viewpoint to the situation it seems that the issue is the labeling of it as an 'intro'. If it's the 8th adventure then characters should be more advanced but seeing that label may make a GM mistakenly believe it's an introductory adventure scaled to 1st level characters ....

This definitely happened. I could easily have brought in a higher level PC. This was Pete's (and our) only real mistake in running and playing the mod.

Henry wrote:
...Why start with the 8th adventure, rather than the first?

*I* will definitely offer them in order. *They,* the potential new Arcanis players, will probably not play them in order. especially the people who start out as casual players. How much of an issue this will be isn't yet known to me. But if you run two mods a month, then Gleams would come up four months in... could you get a group of brand new players at that point who want to try it out? I think in Portland that's at least possible scenario. My opinion.

Henry wrote:
If your group has already played the previous seven, then I would recommend using the 'Level-up' cert...
The old group of Arcanis players have moved on to other things in Portland or have had various versions of "life happens." The scenario I am concerned about is introducing the game to new 5E players. Leveling up presents its own problems. Beyond the official text that would make playing Gleams illegal after leveling up there remains an ongoing dearth of playable mods. Skipping 8 of them is not helpful to find and keeping new players.

My opinions.

And my recommendation is both rethinking the intro label on mods that don't handle 1st level PCs, and bringing back some version of the APL system in future mods to increase thew flexibility of player choice & make it easier for GMs to handle. Perhaps I have made a mountain out of a molehill. But my experience was frustrating enough that i wanted to share it.

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Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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