Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Playtesting the Saber-Tooth Lycotaur

During hiatus I'm revisiting the WWtH monsters and trying them out in actual 4e combat encounters. With the party at first level we tested out the beelion, the doppelganger freak and the laughing lambchop lizard, then tweaked the latter two and ran them again. Last Sunday we leveled the party up to level 2, gave out appropriate gear as level 1 parcels, and started in on the level 2 monsters. The party is still:
A goliath warden
A gnome bard
A longtooth shifter ranger
A deva invoker

We got through one encounter showcasing the sabre-tooth lycotaur. This time the map was Teleport Temple from the War Drums Starter Set. The party started in the room in the top center of the image to the left. The girls tried pulling some kind of story setup out of me. I wasn't in the mood, so I went with "A wizard runs past the doorway yelling 'Lycanthropes! Aaah!' Roll for initiative."

I like the image of the frightened screaming wizard so much I might use it to start every session from now on.

The encounter was similar to the level 3 lycotaur sample encounter, downgraded to level 2 with only two lycotaurs and one wererat instead of three and two. The monsters started near the teleporters in the upper right corner. They won initiative and charged the party, but only one rat got close enough to actually attack in the first round.

The rats were dropped pretty quickly, but bought the wererat some time to get in position. The lycotaurs stood back and threw invisible logs at the warden for most of the fight, setting her up to take sneak attack damage from the wererat. This synergy worked really well for a few rounds until the ranger and the warden managed to take out the wererat.

While the wererat was being whittled down in melee the invoker was softening up the lycotaurs, so once the wererat fell they followed pretty quickly. The last monster tried the flash the bling/confusing lick combo as a desperation measure, but was foiled by the needed dual attack roll (the burst only affected the ranger and the lick didn't hit her Fortitude). When the lycotaurs fell I forgot about their ferocity power, but it really wouldn't have made any difference.

Everything went pretty well with this fight. I would have liked to see the flash/lick combo actually connect to see what chaos it unleashed, but the fact that three attack rolls against different defenses need to hit for any damage to be done (flash/Will, lick/Fortitude, charge (and maybe OAs)/AC) is really the factor that balances that attack anyway.

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