Monday, January 19, 2009

Into the Demonweb Forest, Part 6

Wow, has it really been a month and a half since I last met with the girls and their characters who continue to press through the spider-filled forest? I guess so.

Yesterday we managed to get started with the game at around 2 PM instead of our usual 4 or 5, so I was hopeful we could complete the trek I planned out months ago and finally do something else. I knew there were four encounters I wanted to get through. I was tempted to jettison the first two to make sure we finished, but going from their extended rest directly to "and now you stand nearly at the base of the great tree" seemed really weak. So we opened with an ambush by ettercaps. It wasn't much of an ambush thanks to the ranger's ridiculous perception modifier, so it quickly devolved into a pretty straight fight.

2 ettercap fang guards (level 4 soldier, 350 xp)
2 deathjump spiders (level 4 skirmisher, 350 xp)
Map: Custom forest map described here.

The girls won initiative, and the paladin charged the nearest ettercap while the rest of the party concentrated on the spiders. This turned out to be the best tactic they could have chosen, since the ettercaps' plan was to web up one isolated party member and carry her off. Both ettercaps focused on the dwarf, but discovered that tying down and then carrying off a dwarf paladin is no easy task (especially when she makes her saves against their webbing every single round). Meanwhile the rest of the party took out the spiders while taking minimal damage. Once that was taken care of they made short work of the fang guards.

I went ahead and sprung the second encounter on them immediately. The rest of the ettercaps from the nearby lair (I had a map picked out and everything for the rescue mission that would be mounted when they succeeded in absconding with a party member) showed up to investigate the sounds of battle.

1 ettercap webspinner (level 5 controller, 200 xp)
2 ettercap fang guards (level 4 soldier, 350 xp)
1 deathjump spider (level 4 skirmisher, 175 xp)
Map: Same.

This time the webspinner managed to web up the ranger, and he and one of the fang guards started to drag her away. The rest of the party panicked and charged after them. The ranger managed to get free of the webs, but was badly hurt. Just as things looked grimmest the webspinner decided to risk the opportunity attacks from the ranger and paladin (who NEVER hits with her basic attack) to try and re-web the ranger so the fang guard could run off with her. Two opportunity attacks, two hits, and near-max-damage later the webspinner was dead as a doornail. After that the fight was pretty well over.

I thought this was a really tense, exciting fight. When it became clear that the ettercaps were trying to drag one party member away, leaving the rest floundering in web-covered terrain, it got pretty intense. Having the whole thing turn around on two lucky opportunity attacks was actually a nice heroic moment. It's not like I intended to throw the fight or anything with that move - I really thought the webspinner was perfectly safe.

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