Monday, September 25, 2017

The latest night when we almost had a TPK

Session Ten of the Late Night Lurkers

This was the session where almost had a total party kill come right out of the blue. Plenty of other stuff happened but that's what we are going to remember. Forever. And no one was more horrified while it almost happened as the DM :)

I wasn't able to log in on time (you know, adult life) so I missed our druid getting cured of being a wererat and the party agreeing to help the dwarf city where she was cured by checking out a cursed mountain path that killed everyone who tried to go through it. I joined in at the tail end of a fight with vine blights, which I have never actually encountered before.

(It's worth noting most of us are the unfavored by our Jarl so we are usually sent on nigh suicide missions)

Quick overview from there: we followed the trail of the vine blights to a foul cave where we fought a pack of ghouls, a lone skeleton sentry and two rat swarms. The vine blights and the ghouls were relatively rough fights but not unreasonable.

(I will note that the druid neutralized the rat swarms with an entangle spell. When someone asked if we could set the vines on fire to kill the rats, the DM reasonably ruled that the vines weren't really there and the rats were held in place by magic. If the vines were real, the rats could just scamper through them.

The reason why I note this is I have seen the effects of flavor text argued during games, sometimes in the name of suspension of disbelief. This can be a problem because it can throw off the balance of spells by giving them new limits or additional powers)

Okay, so here it is. We found a treasure chest that had strange runes on it. The dwarf cleric goes over to examine the runes. They turn out to be eyes. It's a mimic, perfectly reasonably and traditional monster.

And it crits on the surprise round and drops the cleric from full to zero before we are in regular rounds. The ranger runs up to protect the unconscious cleric. Misses. The mimic rolls another crit and the ranger is down too.

This is where half of us started talking about beating a hasty retreat. And the druid decided to run up and fight the mimic hand to hand since they still had shillelagh up from the last fight. So my fighter closed as well while the warlock and the elf fighter (whose player had to sign off early so the DM was playing him very defensive) The mimic moved and critted the warlock and then my fighter dropping both of us.

Keep in mind, thanks to Roll20, all of the rolls were in the open. None of the rolls were fudged. The DM was more horrified than any of us. He's been running games for over thirty years and he'd never seen a fight go down like this. We really thought we're looking at a total party kill.

Luckily, the druid found a magic chest that was jumping that turned out to be some kind of magic leash for the mimic. (No, this wasn't the DM pulling a desperate deus ex mechina. He has included special items like this in other encounters.) She froze the mimic and was able to kill it.

Some emergency healing later and no one lost a character. For a little bit, it looked like the characters whose players weren't there would be the only ones left. And we still haven't found whose really in charge of the cave that's turned the pass into a death trap but that's for next session.

A lot happened in the session but the mimic fight is what we are going to remember from it. It is the take away. Even as it looked like we were all going to be rolling up new characters, we all agreed this was going to be a great story. And we will be telling that story for literally years to come.

In total, six players ended up playing during the night, albeit there was only a short time when there were all six of us there. That pushed more of a combat session than a role playing session. Which, in all honesty, is really one of Roll20's strengths. If you want to have a dice free, role playing heavy session (which is a totally cool thing to do), you can just use Skype.

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