Feb 192007

It was a pretty low-key weekend, with a birthday party up in Bay City on Friday night. It was good to see that most of the crew could make it, and many strange alcoholic combinations were tested and approved for general consumption. We discovered that sparkling raspberry wine and sparkling peach juice both make great additives for a pint of Guinness, much to our surprise. Despite all the experimentation, we sobered up in time to drive back that night, not wanting to drop money on a motel.

Saturday was the much-anticipated conclusion of the Exalted intro adventure I’ve been running for mrimp, odysseyseven, and Brian. Nick also tagged along to see how the game was played, and caught on to the rules really quickly. He’ll probably be joining for the actual campaign.

The group finally entered the Tomb of the Eclipse and confronted the Mistress of Pacts Sealed in Blood, their former Circlemate who was, unbeknownst to them, converted into a Deathknight by the Deathlord Mask of Winters. I was determined to do my best to pull out all the stops and kill off their characters if at all possible. They won’t be using these characters again, so it would have been no loss.

Unfortunately I’m not happy with how I handled the last two fights:
– There should have been three skeletal sabertooth cats instead of two (I misread the description), and I should have had the skeletal T-Rex attack at the same time instead of after the cats were destroyed. Having the characters surrounded and attacked on all sides would have been more dangerous. I also forgot about Eric’s characters anima power weakening the skeletons, but that would have made it even easier for the players, and they didn’t really need the help.

– The social combat scene while the players were hunting down the Mistress was really awkward, since we’d never tried social combat before, I had to keep referring to the rules for it, and it’s an awkward system to begin with. I like the idea of it, but not sure how or when to really implement it. I eventually gave up on it and let them find the room she was in.

– The Barrow Black simulacrum went down too easily. Keeping him around to rain arrows down on the combat would have been a better distraction.

– I didn’t play the Mistress’s combat abilities as intelligently as I should have. Instead of repeated alpha strikes using her Whirlwind of Bloody Oblivion combo, I should have used the charms that hindered the players attacks until she could set them up for a serious attack. Having her charge down the stairs was kind of dumb too, but after the frustration of the social combat I just wanted to dive into some hack n slash. I also should have picked a different target instead of focusing most attacks on Eric’s character; his Iron Skin Concentration charm kept negating all the damage from her attacks although, by the end of combat, I’d run him out of Essence and one more attack would have taken him down.

There were a couple of pretty cool moments:
– During the dino fight, Eric used Naria’s Monkey Leap Technique to make a 12-yard spring onto the T-Rex’s head and put a pair of arrows through its skull, Legolas-style, then using Graceful Crane Stance to stay perched on it’s spine aftward. That was good for a 2-die stunt.

– Brian had Kade grab the end of one of the dino’s ribs, swing himself up into the rib cage, and used his Devastating Strike of Fire and Light combo to shear the thing’s spine clean in two. That should have been good for 2 bonus dice as well, but now I don’t recall if I gave it to him…

– When the Mistress used Flickering Wisp technique to dodge Kade’s attack and teleport directly behind him, Eric had Morning Breeze do a forward roll into Kade, knocking him out of the way before she could stick him through the back, and absorbing the strike himself.

I need to make some more crib sheets for future combats: they helped immensely to speed things along and reduce page flipping. It’ll also help to pre-calculate the dice modifiers for the most common attacks and actions, so I don’t have to do it on the fly every round. A small grid of boxes to track bonus and penalty dice would help too.

Sunday I finally activated TurboTax and both of us did our taxes. I’m getting a respectable $775 back, while Aaron gets to rake in over $2k! I also made a quick trip to the comic shop, played some City of Heroes and Oblivion, but I had a case of Sunday blahs that took a trip to the gym for some cardio and hot tub soaking, plus last night’s Battlestar Galactica, to shake off.

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