The Abtruse Chronicles

The Disaster at Bugbear Cave

Somewhat decent intro to DnD

So today started off being not so interesting, but that was expected. One player knew all the rules and just hadn’t played 4E yet, another was only familiar with 3.5, and the third was completely new to the concept to role playing, so we had some group reading time. Players lost interest and their minds started to wander, so we blazed past the remaining rules and jumped into character creation. We finished creating multiple characters:
  1. Lona Treigan, an Eladrin Wizard who specializes in freezing spells
  2. Achkala, a pissed off Dragonborn Warlord who was exiled from his home
  3. Mosif Mandroc Zier, a Human Fighter who helps Achkala accomplish his goals
  4. Raiden (as of the brawl, unfinished), an Elven Ranger

With some time to kill, I pitted the players against an angry Bugbear with his 3 Hobgoblin Grunts, supposedly an equal fight. But today’s battle proved otherwise.

The players found themselves in a circular cave reeking of rotting meat. Three armored creatures and another larger, hairy monster had their backs towards the players. The hairy creature was on a raised section of the cave, furiously working on something on a dais/table. Both he and his minions seemed to be pleased, as they could be heard laughing softly. To the right side of the cave, several square facets about two feet across were barely visible, and in place of one facet, emerging about seven feet from the roughly hewn cave interior, was a stone stab. It was smooth, but something was piled on this surface…

Everyone was aware of their surroundings and the battle started. LOT successfully made a nature check result, and identified the four monsters to be a bugbear and hobgoblins. Initially, Zier was to go first, but he didn’t know what to do, so he delayed his action. The Bugbear started battle first, by hurling a javelin at Achkala. Achkala angrily responded by charging the Bugbear. Zier also went to engage the hobgoblins. The battle proceeded, until Achkala was flanked and terribly surrounded by the Bugbear and all of his hobgob buddies, where Big Snarling Bugbear (BSB) mauled Achkala with his encounter power. He dealt massive damage (where I think Achkala went from almost max health to like 1/4 health) and dazed Achkala in the process. Achkala tried to do many things at once during his turn:
  • use his second wind
  • get out of the flanked position
  • deal some uber damage to the bugbear

So hopeful Achkala was … until he was reminded that he was dazed. He chose to use his second wind. LOT was aware of the danger her comrade was facing, and she used her daily power, Freezing cloud to engulf the bugbear and a hobgoblin. In the process, LOT rolled an EPIC FAIL, so she also cast freezing cloud in her own square. Luckily she still hadn’t moved, so she shifted out of the damaging square. With the group’s prompt, Zier bull rushed a hobgoblin. He rolled spectacularly, and bludgeoned the goblinoid hard enough to send him flying two squares, and then proceed to crash into another hobgoblin, pushing him back too. They both landed in the area with the freezing cloud, and immediately died. Sadly there was a remaining flanking hobgoblin, and he got lucky and finished Achkala off.

The BSB didn’t like being chilled to the bone, so he charged the wizard. Yet the bugbear got too eager during his charge, so he swung his morningstar around wildly, failing to make contact with LOT. It was a last stand in the cave entrance with LOT, Zier, the BSB and his hobgob. LOT chose to get the fuck out of there, teleported away, and then fled. Zier chose to be a hero by braving the disgusting barbaric creatures, and swung at the BSB. He failed. He was knocked unconscious. Bound. Blinded. Gagged, and taken as hostage…

In hindsight, the party could have survived this brawl. Achkala shouldn’t have been that ballsy, and shouldn’t have charged the bugbear. Zier shouldn’t have continued fighting when his enslaver died. And even though LOT did well, she could have helped deal more damage by maintaining the freezing cloud so that Zier could go bull rush others into the affected zone. I was being a bad DM by being a good one. I should have railroaded the players more by telling them the most probable results of their actions, then proposed better actions to deal more damage and make use of their powers better. Instead, I forgot that this was an introductory game, where most didn’t know the full extent of their abilities, and it was my mistake of letting the players do whatever they wanted.

Overall, I thought this was a fun pre-trial session. I learned that I need to keep track of effects better, and need more props to represent conditions and terrain. Hopefully Achkala learned one method of how not to use his character, and everyone just got familiar with Dungeons and Dragons 4E in general.

For the next session, I have to cope with this again with other new players, and will have to do a better job railroading players, to tell them what would work most effectively.



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