Hoard of the Dragon Queen – Chapter 1 Part 1

HotDQ

Welcome everyone to this new adventure. My D&D group have started Hoard of the Dragon Queen. This first session was more of an introduction to the start of chapter one of the scenerio.

My group is usually just 5 or 6 people but with a few newcomers I had 8 people for the 1 hour session. But I asked one of our other DM’s to take half the group if there was enough. What the group really did was to discuss and create characters. Character creation is not a long process but the discussion was very short. The discussion was meant to be for the players to tell each other what classes or roles each player were going to take. So that the team could be balanced and to “help” the party survive better.

The team couldn’t really “talk” about teamwork so I gave the group a choice, of either making a character of Level 1, 2, or 3. Most players chose level 3 thinking that the higher the level they are the more powerful they are. But the more experienced players chose level 2 characters. The 2 new players started off with some level 1 characters that I had pre-made.

The classes listed below are what the player’s had chosen.

  • Level 3 Warlock – This was being played by a beginner
  • Level 3 Rogue – This was being played by a beginner
  • Level 3 Druid – This was being played by a beginner
  • Level 3 Cleric – Yet another beginner
  • Level 2 Ranger – This one was being played by an experienced player
  • Level 2 Rogue – This one was being played by an experienced player
  • Level 1 Fighter – This one was being played by a new player
  • Level 1 Sorcerer – This one was being played by a new player

The session was just introductory. The session was just for 1 hour and the group just made it into town just as the attack on the town of Greenest. The team was split up from the beginning some entering the town from the east and the others from the west.

Team A consists of the Rogue, Cleric and the Warlock (all level 3) and the level 2 Ranger (who is the other DM).

Team B consists of the Druid, the other Rogue, and the 2 new players.

Team A just made it to the edge of town dealing with 6 kobolds and saving 3 villiagers.

Team B split up again into a group of 3 and the Fighter running off to the keep in the center of town passing 3 different encounters as he thought they were not important (rolled 3 failed Insight checks).

 

What will happen to the teams? Will they meet up and work together? Only the next session will tell…

Tune in next time.

 

Xia – A space of exploration

Xia - Legends of a Drift SystemThe game is a very fun space exploration game. The object of the game is to be the first player to reach the assigned points to end the game. It could be 5 points (for a quick preview), 10 points (for a decent game), 15 points (for a good game of strategy), or 20 points (the epic game of awesomeness). Otherwise you could pick anywhere from 5 points to 20 points as a goal, it really depends if your group are quick players or hard-core calculators/rule lawyers.

Anyway the game itself is about you playing a space captain, manoeuvring your ship through asteroids, space debris and nebulas to either collect resources, complete missions or just plain old space combat. The game is very fun and it can be very friendly to very ruthless. When players reach various milestones there are also achievements to be completed to give you that extra edge in winning the game.

The game is about exploration, so at first the setup starts off with having sectors (hexagonal tiles) placed to build a kind of game board. The board is always different or it could be completely random. This game has 6 major components. Ship parts (tile puzzle pieces), resources (cool looking plastic cubes), money (actual metal coins), sectors (hexagonal tiles), different space ships (configurations and special powers) and mission cards. The game can be played many ways. The ways you can get points are listed below.

  1. Exploration tokens
  2. Selling resources (minimum of 2)
  3. Destroy a ship (NPC or other players)
  4. Complete missions
  5. Upgrade your ship to the next Tier (everyone starts at Tier 1, there are 3 tiers)
  6. Buy points (except the last point)
  7. Use the teleporters (Be the first one to traverse through it)
  8. Complete achievements
  9. Aid another player (give another player money or energy)

All of these can give you 1 point. There are deep thought out strategies that my brother and I have come up with or just crazy and sinister plots my friends and I have divulged while playing the game. I have also played this game where no one shot a player and it was still fun and hilarious.

I will share two stories with this game. One will be with my brother and me playing the 2 player variant. The other will be one with my friends playing the epic 5 player hit and run battle.

Game 1: My brother the Super Trader

Our second game playing this together, we started the game with a tier 1 ship each. He picked his and got the Numerator which has the special power of After Burner, which allows your ship to move extra spaces (movement can be split up in this game). I on the other hand rolled for it and got the Easy Tiger which has the special power of Tac-X, which allows me to reroll and dice I have used. Then we rolled for starting positions and for some reason ended up in the same place. My brother’s Numerator has 4 Impulse (free movement, this refreshes every turn), 9 Energy (can be used for various actions), 10 hold (this is considered life points for the ship). All players in this game starts off with 3000 credits to but holds for their ship, such as weapons, shields and engines. These holdings also have Tiers 1 to 3 (costs 1000 to 3000, respectively). Depending on the tier of the holding will determine the power of the ship part. Weapons such as Blasters and Missiles deal damage and destroy ships. Shields protect your ship from hazards things like opponent weapons and asteroids. While engines allow your ship to move a certain number of spaces.

Now he went first, the order of play consists of 3 phases. Exploration phase, Business phase and Status phase. During exploration phase you can do anything from attack an enemy ship harvest resources to sell in the market for more credits (money) or just explore and find new sectors. The game starts off with 3 shown sectors. 2 planets, 1 nebula. My brother went the trading route. Where you buy goods from 1 planet and sell at another planet. If you sell at least 2 resources you get 1 point. But selling more than 2 doesn’t get you more than 1 point at a time (multiples of 2 like 6 resources will still only get you 1 point when you sell, unless you sell them separately, 2 then 2 then 2, will get you 3 points in total). So he took his turn. His starting holdings were both tier 1, a shield and an engine. He had 1000 CR (credits) left over and he used it to buy 2 resources to sell at the neighbouring planet it produced him 1 point and gained 2000 CR, which he used to go back to the first planet and buy two more resources and sold them for 2000 CR again. He stayed in the planet and searched up some Quest cards. Passes his turn. He now controls a NPC ship, the Enforcer (Patrols and hunts Outlaws).

Note: If you are not on a planet at the end of exploration phase then you will not be able to go into business phase.

On my turn I went after him with my tier 2 blasters and tier 1 engine. I got within range of his ship after rolling 2x 1s on a d6 (6 sided die). I had to use some of my energy just to reach him. Now it was time to do some space combat. If you have no shields you are defenceless. I shot him with twin blasters (peew peew) and I was dealing 2d8 (roll an eight sided die twice) damage, a total of 10 damage (I was very proud of this since I usually only roll 3s and 4s regardless of dice). My brother activated his shields and rolled 2d6 (roll a 6 sided dice twice, the game only comes with one set of die d6, d8, d12, d20) and he deflected all the damage that would be dealt (he rolled a 5 and a 6 a total of 11 shield defence). I lacked any more energy so I remained next to him on the planet. I passed. Then I took control of the other NPC, the Merchant (Cargo hauler, flies trade route).

At the end of the Exploration phase my brother had gained 2 points and 5000 CR. While I gained zero points and 1000 CR (from an exploration token).

During business phase, my brother had 5000 CR to buy a point or a new ship and he got the ship. The ship was called “Lone Drifter” he chose this one because of the ability of it. The ability is called “Auto Pilot” (Maintain movement momentum). The effect of it allows you to move off-turn depending on what you roll when you activate it. Plus the ship was even roomier with a hold capacity of 14. He also sold his shield, thinking he no longer needed it with a much big hold and that gained him 1000 CR for the ship part.

I on the other hand, sold my tier 1 engine to upgrade to a Tier 2 engine (now I would be rolling a d8 instead of a d6). At the end of business phase players on a planet recharged their Energy back to full. I had a total of 8 to use and my brother had 11 since he upgraded his ship. Buying a next tier ship gains you a point and discards your old model. When the ship is discarded you don’t get any Credits for it.

Now for the Status Phase of round 1. During this phase you are able to choose how much of your activation token you wish to arm. There is a total of 4 activation token and you can only arm them if you have energy to arm them. All un-used armed tokens are placed into the disarm sector of your ship board are the start of Status Phase. My brother only had his engines so he armed 3 of his tokens, leaving him 8 energy to be used on his turn. To arm a token a player must use his energy, 1 token with 1 energy. I on the other hand armed all 4. Leaving me with only 4 energy to use on my turn.

In Status phase players may also draw Fame cards if they have enough Fame (victory) points, Claim Titles if they completed the quest. Here is an example:

Title: Most Wanted (…when they come for you.)

To claim be the first to : Have a Bounty of 5000 CR or higher.

Once claimed, this title grants: Once this game, during your Business Phase : You may repair your ship for free.

All the Titles in this game are Unique. When you claim them they will all give you a certain number of points depending on their difficulty.

 

Round 2

My brother continues to go on his trading route but this time tries to mine some of the resources instead of buying them.

There is a risk in Harvesting, Mining or Salvaging resources.

In harvesting, if you fail to roll a certain number (1 to 10 = Fail, 11 to 20 = Success) you lose energy equal to your roll. This may leave you stranded (Stranded means that you have zero Energy left) and won’t be able to do actions on your turn.

With Mining, if you fail to roll a certain number (1 to 10 = Fail, 11 to 20 = Success) you take damage equal to the number you roll. This damage can be prevented with shields if you have them. If your ship takes equal or more than the total number of your hold your ship is destroyed and you pass your turn (If your ship is not in Tier 1 you also lose your next turn… punishment for the greedy). Don’t worry if your ship is destroyed because you will respawn back on the board at the start of your next turn. Placing your ship at the number rolled with a d20 (Every sector or Hex tile has its own number from 1 to 19).

When it comes to Salvaging on the other hand, failure (1 to 3 = Fail, 4 to 20 = Success) is more severe. If you fail, your ship is instantly destroyed (no shields, no abilities, no nothing).

The result of his mining was 2 failures (rolled a 1, thinking it wasn’t so bad he tried again succeeded 4 times in a row and failed rolling 5) of 6 damage in total and 4 successes which got him 4 resources. Not wanting to take any more risks he went to the planet to sell his wares. Passes his turn. He controlled the Enforcer but since there were no outlaws to hunt it stayed at home base. My brother did not get the chance to activate his ability as he forgot (I did remind him… at least once). He gained 1 point and 4000 CR.

My turn was filled with chaos. I went back on the hunt to shoot down my brother who was winning at 4 points out of 10, while I was still on zero. It only took me 2 engine tokens to reach him and I went Blasters a Blazing. Since my brother no longer had a shield damage was not defended. I rolled both blasters (I rolled a total of 12, first die got me 4 damage which made him survive with one hit point left…it’s like the dice were teasing me on my bad die rolls, then I rolled the die again a scored an 8 when I needed that on the first roll) and destroyed his ship. I received 2 points for shooting down a Tier 2 ship and also gained a bounty of 2000 CR. This bounty means that if you destroy a ship with no bounty on it, it is considered “innocent”. The reason I got a bounty of 2000 CR instead of just 1000 CR is because I shoot down a Tier 2 ship. If another player shoots down someone with a bounty they receive the bounty as a reward as well as the points.

I was still on a planet so I could partake in Business Phase and recharge my energy and rearm my weapons during Status phase. My brother on the other hand just gets to respawn with zero damage and fully armed and re-energised.

At the end of Round 2, my brother was on 4 points and I was on 2.

 

Round 3

My brother respawns really far away. It was like 3 sectors away (Because while he was buying and selling goods, I was exploring in the weirdest U-shape, so that it would be hard to travel when finding trade routes). He skips his turn. But he is now able to use the Enforcer to hunt down the one and only outlaw. Me. The enforcer has missiles for its weapons so it needed to move into range (missiles have a 2 to 6 range, within line of sight). I had no shields so damage was not defended. I took 7 points of damage (the Enforcer gets to roll a d8 for damage).

I wanted to take my revenge on this law abiding jerk and chased it. I shot my twin blasters to it and only dealt 4 points of damage (Enforcer like the other NPC ships all have shields, I rolled a total of 12 on my blasters enough to destroy it but my brother rolls an 8 on a d8… ridiculous).  I still had enough armed tokens to use so I went with a kamikaze attack. It is called “Ramming speed”. So long as you are adjacent to the target you may use your engines to attack the target. Ramming speed cannot be blocked by shields but it will cause damage to you as well as your opponent. I rolled low and took 3 points of damage. This was good since I only had 1 hit point left before being destroyed myself. I passed and moved the Merchant. Nothing much happens to the Merchant until later as it has 15 health and a d8 shield. So if I don’t mention the big bulky thing it is just moving around getting richer and richer.

Business Phase, I repaired my ship by selling my blasters. This way I can still attack but not worry about dying (So I thought at the time). My brother had skipped his turn didn’t get to join business phase.

Status Phase both of us armed only 3 energy. Score was still brother was at 4 and I was at 2.

Round 4

My brother start off with exploring more of the sectors as there were no good trade routes to manipulate. He discovered 2 out of the 3 warp gates. If you are the first to use a warp gate for the first time you get a point. He used both. Ironically he didn’t really warp too far away each time. First warp gate had number 11 (he rolled 16) and the second had number (he rolled 4) 10. Sector 16 was next to the first warp gate and sector 4 was next to the second warp gate. When you enter a warp gate you need to roll a d20 to determine where you end up. Then he completed a quest the involved escorting some passengers from sector 4 to sector 10. He passed his turn gaining 2000 CR and 3 points. He then used the Enforcer to attack me. Luckily for me it can only attack once with a maximum of 8 damage and what do you think the damn space pig rolled…an 8.

My turn, I thought well I don’t have any credits to repair my ship even if I’m on a planet during Business Phase, I might as well go out in a blazing glory. Ramming SPEEEED right off the bat. I rolled 8 on the die and destroyed both of us. I still got the points and still received an increase in my bounty. So Win, Win?

Business Phase, my brother just upgraded his engines to Tier 3 (now he gets to roll a d12).

Status Phase, he armed 3 tokens and we were now in Round 5.

At the end of round 4 the score was now. My brother at 6 points and I was at 4 points.

 

Round 5

This is where the game got incredibly interesting. My brother finds the outlaw planet where you can sell any type of resource and it was next to another planet 2 sectors away. He made the run 3 times and gained 3 points as well as 12000 CR (BTW if an “innocent” ship enters an outlaw planet they immediately gain a bounty of 1000 CR just being associated with the pirates). He was super cocky and boasted that he was going to win the game here and now. He passes his turn. Then moved the Enforcer to chase me. I wasn’t within range so no combat that turn. Since he discovered the first outlaw planet he now also gets to control the Outlaw NPC; the Scoundrel. The Scoundrel is the opposite of the Enforcer and goes after “Innocent ships”. So it chases down the closes “Innocent” ship; the Merchant.

I went for broke and entered the warp gate just to get that much closer to my brother’s ship so as I can stop him from winning. I went into sector 10 warp gate and came out at sector 10. I tried again and just wanted to get to either sector 13 where my brother was on or sector 16 or 11 which was close enough. I roll and get 11. I was chose and I was running out of energy just to get close. I got there using 3 out of 4 energy + my impulse + 1 armed token on my engine. I attacked with Ramming SPEEEEED. I rolled an 8. Dealing 8 damage to me (I had 2 life left) and him (he had 3 life left). So I attacked him with Ramming Speed again and you know what happened right? I rolled a 2 killing myself and leaving him on 1 life left.

He won the game by buying a Tier 3 ship. He gloated and he prepared to pack up. But this is where I remind him of his VICTORY SPEECH. He was like what?

I forced my brother to read his Tier 3’s Victory speech.

Here it is:

The ship was called the “Cold Phoenix”

“You stretch your fingers and grasp the very throat of the galaxy. Your name is synonymous with power. Children weep and men cower in their homes when you make planetfall. And years from now, in the twilight of your life, you’ll sail off into the infinite void, leaving only a memory and fear as your legacy.”

It was a fun game and it was kind of intense when I was trying to stop him but failing in disappointment. And the reason he choose that ship the Cold Phoenix was because it could teleport from sector to sector.

Game 2: Shooting 3 missiles with the magic school bus

In this game, I had introduced this game to my friends Dean, Evil and Caps. We all chose at random and Dean got the Bus, but the ship is called the “Swamp Rat” and it’s special ability (is quite overpowered) is called “Over-Surge (Push your ship to the limit)” which allows the player to use the ship part as though they were placing an armed token on it, by dealing 1 point of damage on the part.

Caps got the Ghoststalker (Fly undetected through planetary shields), which has the ability to pass through planetary shields without consequences.

Evil got Persistent Memory (Hitch a ride with passing ships), which has an ability called Mag-Harpoon. It allows you to follow another ship after your turn.

I got the Puddle Jumper (Collect ambient Energy from space), which has an ability called Energy Scoop. It allows you to gain Energy, like an instant refuel.

Everyone equipped themselves with the ship outfits (engine/blasters/missiles/shields) that they wanted. I got my usual Tier 2 Blasters & Tier 1 engines. Caps got a Tier 2 engines with 1000 CR to spare. Evil got Tier 1 missiles & Tier 1 engines with 1000 CR to spare. Dean got Tier 3 missiles.

 

The turn order is Evil, Me, Caps and Dean.

Evil controls the Enforcer NPC ship.

I control the Merchant NPC ship.

Caps controls the Outlaw NPC ship.

We set game victory to 15 points. So first to 15 wins.

Round 1 – We thought we were safe

Evil decided to explore the map and reveal (the safe way) the other sectors. Ending his turn on a Neutral planet. Passes his turn. He discovered 3 asteroid sectors and 1 planet. Obtained 2000 CR and 1 Victory Point (VP), having a total of 3000 CR. Since there were no Outlaw ships in the area the Enforcer does nothing (for now).

I chased after Evil and tried to shoot him down. He had no shields so they were direct hits. I went all out and fired 2 beams. A total of 13 damage (I rolled 5 & 8 on 2d8s).  I gained 1 point and a Bounty of 1000 CR. I then chanced it on one of the asteroids Evil found to Mine some ore. I got 2 ore all up. That was total of 4 tries (out of 4, my failed rolls were 5 and 2 dealing 7 damage). I made it to a planet to sell the ore and ended my turn on a Lawful planet (I tried 3 times and only succeeded once took 2 damage for failure and gained 1000 CR on my bounty a total of 2000). I passed my turn. I now have a bounty of 2000 CR, 2 Victory Points (VP), having a total of 2000 CR and 9 points of damage. I then moved the Merchant towards the next planet on its trade route.

Caps went the trade route thinking he could buy a Tier 2 ship on the first round. He decided to Harvest plasma from one of the Nebulas close to the planet that buys that resource. He tried a total of 6 times. He managed to obtain 5 plasma cubes to sell on turn one but losing 4 energy when he failed on his 5th try.

1st attempt = rolls 13          2nd attempt = rolls 17         3rd attempt = rolls 19

Caps: I’m on a roll.

Evil: What the @#$%?

Me: what kind of hacks is that?

Dean: you guys just suck at rolling [picks up d20 and rolls it 3 times get below 10 each time]

4th attempt = rolls 11        5th attempt = rolls a 4

We all (except Caps) laughed out loud… I had tears in my eyes.

Caps: Ok that was just one bad roll. I got this.

6th attempt = rolls 18. Which was nearly a 9.

He travels to the planet that buys plasma and sells 2 plasma first to get 1 point and 3 to get 1 more point. A total of 2 points and 5000 CR. He passes his turn. Since we hadn’t discovered any of the outlaw planets yet there was no Outlaw ship NPC.

Dean went full blown warfare on us. First he targets Caps because he was the closest. His Tier 3 missiles are like nukes. Tier 1 missile rolls 1d8 damage. Tier 2 missile rolls 1d12 damage and Tier 3 missiles rolls 1d20 damage. Dean gets within range and deals 13 damage. Destroying Caps in 1 shot. [We laughed our asses off] Then he moved in position to shoot me but I told him he was not in line of sight of my ship.

My ship was right next to the planetary shields and this line blocks line of sight. Since he had a bounty on his head he had to breach the shields to attack me and then get in to range (the range of any missile is 2 to 6 spaces) and decided to do that. Before he started to move I told him (because I’m a good sportsman and give most players a fair chance) that I was on a Lawful planet (Blue planet) and therefore there could be no combat (except the Enforcer) on the planet (safety planet or so I thought). So he asked “what if I shoot through here (pointing at the entry way of the planet shields)?” I told him it was fine so long as it was a straight line. I thought he couldn’t make it to the position but forgot he hadn’t used his Impulse movement. Oh Crap!!!! He had just enough to use his ability “Over-Surge” dealing 1 point of damage to his missile to reactivate it (Normally missiles can only be fired once per round unless you have 2 missile outfits). He rolled a 20 blowing me into Oblivion. He had just one attempt to enter the planet I was on and he succeeded with a 14.

When entering a lawful planet’s shields a player must roll a d20.

1 to 10 = failure, take 1 damage regardless of rolled result and stop movement.

11 to 17 = success, but your legal entry was noticed. Increase bounty by 1000 CR.

18 to 20 = Success. No negative consequences.

Dean passes his turn on the lawful planet. He gained my bounty of 2000 CR, gained a total of 3 VP (1 from destroying me, 1 from destroying Caps and 1 from rolling a 20) and gains a total bounty of 2000 CR.

Business Phase, Only Dean gets to do this since the rest of us were destroyed. Evil by me. Me and Caps by Dean. Dean couldn’t buy an engine outfit even though he had the credits because of the limited space in his ship so he bought another missile, Tier 2 instead of 3.

Status Phase Dean re-armed 2 tokens only.

 

Round 2 – I thought it was ok. But I was sorely mistaken.

Evil respawned pretty far away and decided to explore some more and pick up some Missions. He was 2 sectors away from Dean and felt that he was pretty much safe. Passes his turn and controls the Enforcer. Shoots Dean with a d8 missile dealing 2 damage (rolls the die and lands cocked/tilted so re-rolls and gets a 2).

My turn was horrible or perhaps karma. I start right next to Dean in sector number 2. I make the best of it and try to runaway since I can’t shoot him. I don’t get far (Engine roll 3d6 = 1 + 1 + 2 = 4, wtf?). Everyone (except me) laughs. Caps was winded and crying from laughter. My total movement only got me to a neutral planet. I managed to get some missions just in case I die again. I pass my turn and move the Merchant.

Caps’ turn was funny because he ends up in an asteroid sector. He found out that there is another way to discover new sectors. It’s called “Blind Jump”. Where you position your ship on to the next hex space by moving there, instead of scanning the sector by using 1 energy. In a blind jump there is a lot to risk. Since the Star of Xia (basically a Sun) was not on the board yet it could pop up on a blind jump and instantly destroys your ship.

So here are the possible results of a Blind Jump.

Nebula = when entering this space roll a d20. The area could potentially drain your energy.

1 to 10 = lose energy equal to roll.

11 to 20 = No effect.

Asteroid = when entering this space roll a d20. The area could potentially damage your ship.

1 to 10 = take damage equal to roll.

11 to 20 = No effect.

Debris = when entering this space roll a d20. The area could potentially destroy your ship.

1 to 3 = your ship is destroyed

4 to 20 = No effect.

Star of Xia = your ship is vapourized

Empty space = Safe passage

Planetary Shield (Lawful ONLY) = when entering this space roll a d20. The area could potentially damage your ship and stop you in your tracks.

1 to 10 = take 1 damage, stop movement.

11 to 17 = Pass through shields, but increase bounty by 1000 CR.

18 to 20 = No Effect.

Planetary Shield (Outlaw ONLY) = Increase your bounty by 1000 CR if you don’t have a bounty. Otherwise, no effect.

Planetary Shield (Neutral ONLY) = Safe passage.

Caps: So I get some damage that’s not that bad (he wasn’t listening to my explanation).

Performs a Blind Jump. Jumps into a Nebula space and rolls Safe passage. Then Blind Jumps again into Debris and rolls safe passage. Then Blind Jumps again after exploring the sector getting 1000 CR. Jumps into Xia. Is vaporised (We all laugh out loud even Caps, Dean got a stitch from laughing so much and I couldn’t breathe for like 10 seconds…it was hilarious). Passes he turn. Still no Scoundrel.

Deans turn was brutal (for me that is). He first attacks and destroys the Enforcer shooting 2 missiles at it. Then chases after me and shoots me down with 18 points of damage. I was destroyed since I only had 10 hit points in total. He then enters the mission icon to get some missions (you can only ever have 1 mission active at a time). He passes his turn with 3 more VP and 3000 CR on his bounty. 6 VP & 6000 CR bounty.

During business phase nothing happened with the exception to everyone on a planet. They were able to recharge their energy for use next turn and for re-arming their tokens.

Status Phase Evil armed 3 energy and Dean armed 2 energy.

Score

Evil = 2 VP, 3000 CR, Bounty 0 CR

Caps = 2 VP, 5000 CR, Bounty 0 CR

Me = 2 VP, 2000 CR, Bounty 0 CR

Dean = 6 VP, 0 CR, Bounty 6000 CR

 

Round 3 – I got greedy and died. I thought I had him.

Evil’s turn was him moving around the board trying to complete as many missions as he could to get a Tier 3 Ship. He completes 2 missions out of 4 (He failed 2 of his rolls on 2 different missions). Two of his missions were called “Envoy (Bring peace to the galaxy)” where you need to go to the mission icon of the location listed and roll a d20. The rolls below shows the reward and consequences.

1 to 5 =  Parley ends in hostility. Mission Fails: take number rolled as unblockable damage.

6 to 15 = Temporary solution: 3000 CR.

16 to 20 = Lasting Peace: 5000 CR

After the roll you need to go to the Deliver location to receive your reward. He managed to roll a 3 and a 5 on these missions. taking a total of 8 damage. Luckily he had used all of his armed tokens. His 2 other missions were a called “Shuttle (Transport passengers)” and “Research (Scan for scientific data)”. The shuttle mission earned him 2000 CR and the Research got him 3000 CR. As well as 2 more VP. He decided to leave the fighting to the rest of us and stayed away just to upgrade. He passes his turn on a Lawful planet. He spawns the Enforcer and chases after Dean the only outlaw ship.

My turn was yet another failure. I thought perhaps I could destroy Dean’s ship because I respawned on the same sector as him. I thought what luck! I went after Dean’s ship that had already been damage by the Enforcer the previous round. Just 8 more damage I thought. I got within range to use my blasters and Dean says “come on, bring it!!!” I shot both my blasters 2d8 damage. It was pathetic on my part. I rolled two 1s. Dealing only 2 damage in total. Then everyone laughed and I said “Damn it time to go all out, RAMMING SPEEEEED!!!” I rolled a 5. Caps and Dean fell off their chairs laughing so hard. I couldn’t believe it so I went over to th edrink fridge to get a drink to cool my anger (and frustration and embarressment) off. I had some movement left and went off to do a Shuttle mission. This earned me 1 VP and 2000 CR, but ultimately I saved 1 Energy as I wasn’t going to stay alive to do business phase an lured Dean into an obvious trap. I passed my turn. I moved the Merchant on it route and it now had 2000 CR.

Caps turn was filled with more risk than reward. He explored the remaining tiles to make the map. We all complained for the way he made the map. It was filled with so many gaps and it made the board super elongated. During his travels he crashed into 2 asteroids taking 3 points of damage all up and discovering some teleportation gates. He used 2 of them to gain the points and discovered 3 other points from exploration tokens (although he was looking for credits rather than points as he was short 1000 CR for a Tier 3 ship). He ends his turn on an outlaw planet about 4 sectors away from Dean. He also found one of the outlaw planets. So he had the Scoundrel chase after Evil as he was far closer than me to the NPC ship. He ends up with 7000 CR and 5 VP and a bounty of 1000 CR.

Dean’s turn was short and sweet. He went to where I was shot me down with his missile once he was within range (I forgot he had a ranged weapon, a range of 2 to 6 hex spaces) and returned to the neutral planet. He gained 1 more point and a bounty of 1000 CR.

Business Phase, Dean sold his Tier 2 missile so he could repair his ship of all damage. The cost for repairing a ship depends on the Tier.

Tier 1 = 1000 CR,    Tier 2 = 2000 CR     and    Tier 3 = 3000 CR.

This payment can only be done during business phase but it will remove all damage inflicted on the ship. Damage can also be removed by buying a different ship of any Tier. Buying a new ship also removes your current bounty as well.

Caps sold his Tier 3 engines to purchase a Tier 3 ship. He didn’t know which ship to buy so he rolled for it. He got a ship called “Constant Sorrow” with an ability called the “Particle Ray Beam (Fire a searing blast of energy)”. The stats of the ship are listed below:

Hold = 16, Energy = 16, Impulse = 1.

This also gave Caps 1 VP and erased his bounty to zero.

Evil also bought a Tier 3 ship using his credit. I told him he could choose but then he just wanted to roll just like Caps (saying that it would be more of an interesting game). He got a ship called the “Slow Leak” which has the ability called “Shockwave (Damage and repel nearby ships)”. He also gained 1 VP for buying a new ship.

During status phase, we drew Title cards since someone was able to get enough points to make them available. From now on when someone completes the requirements to the Title they can claim it during the next Status phase. The Titles were Viking and  Menace.

Each of them will give the player 1 VP once it is completed as they are Tier 1 Titles.

Menace

To claim this title, be the first player to : Attack two ships in one turn.

Once claimed, this title grants: You may add +1 to one attack roll per turn.

Viking

To claim this title, be the first player to :Destroy another ship by Ramming

Once claimed, this title grants: You now take -3 damage when ramming another ship.

 

Dean : I’ve done this one [pointing at Menace].

Me : It doesn’t count since the card was only drawn now. I also don’t get Viking because it wasn’t out yet.

Dean: ok, I’ll just get it this turn.

Me/Evil : Good luck with that!

 

Score

Evil = 5 VP, 1000 CR, Bounty 0 CR

Caps = 5 VP, 0 CR, Bounty 0 CR

Me = 2 VP, 3000 CR, Bounty 0 CR

Dean = 7 VP, 0 CR, Bounty 7000 CR

 

Round 4 – Everyone except me gets killed.

 

My Gaming Exp – 4 & 5

Ok so there is a reason for combining these two sessions. One of those reasons is when players are in combat they don’t talk to each other and that makes combat a little longer. Now the other reason is combat takes the longest when playing with new players (because they don’t want to take risks). I will explain the mechanics of combat next but for now I will recount what actually happened in the two sessions.

In session 4 the team encountered some more undead (some ghouls and a ghost or two). They also saved the old man that was abducted by some skeletons. They also discovered another ally and a villager.

In session 5 the team encountered one of the undead Captains as well as a troop of skeletons. After the fight the team “discussed” about a potential reward upon rescuing the old man (the grave keeper and head priest – Doomguide). Then went back into the deeper levels of the catacomb. They fought more zombies, killed some raiders and then died to traps on the staircase heading even deeper down. Not able to defeat or discover the evil raising the dead.

Now I will explain why fighting in dungeons and dragons takes so long and makes a blog like this so short. Now then first off to go into combat in D&D is very simple. A player just needs to decide what he/she are attacking and attacks the target then deals damage then passes his/her turn to the next player. So that’s seems very easy, so why does it take soooo long to go into combat. The thing is it is easy and very quick considering the edition of D&D we are playing allows for quick turns and therefore a more fluid game. But no matter what the edition (with the exception to 4th edition) combat is very tedious and long because of hit/miss rates.

The way a player chooses their target differs within every group. It doesn’t actually depend on whether they are experienced or not it just matters if they want to attack or not.

When a player has their turn during combat, it goes something like this. Move character into position. Attack. Then pass their turn. Moving is easy and very quick. I have tried many methods of playing D&D, with/without a map, pre-drawn or reveal as they explore and I have found that (regardless what experienced or veteran players say that imagination makes the game flow better) players need to be able to see where they are and it is far easier and quicker if there is a map. In cases where I don’t draw a map (especially new) players tend to forget where they are in the fray and just swing whatever weapon they have. Some players ask how far an enemy is or if they see the damn monster or if they can shot spells and ricocheted them off walls or sometimes allies. But with a map it is very easy to see where the monsters and allies and obstacles are.

Attack action is just as easy as moving but it can miss. When a player attacks, they must understand what are they attack with. Melee weapons like swords, axes, hammers and the like need the players to be in melee range, which is directly adjacent.

The picture above shows the spaces in which a player is adjacent. The player’s handbook states that a character must be at least 5 feet away from another (either monster or Non Player Character = NPC) to attack them using melee weapons. With ranged weapons and some spells a character must have line of sight of the creature to be able to attack it and must be within the allowed range or the weapon or spell. Some spells only reach 30 feet or as far as 60 while others can shoot from 90 feet to 300 feet. It just depends on the spell. Long ranged weapons like shortbows (80/320 feet) or longbows (150/600 feet) or crossbows (100/400 feet) have a set range limit. Now you might be wondering, why in feet why not in metres? Well the thing about that is D&D is an American published game. So they use imperial notation. Anyway, the ranged weapons have two numbers. The lower number is the range where they can shoot without disadvantage or hindrance. Once a character is within the appropriate range of their weapon, they attack by rolling a d20 (a 20 sided dice) and adding their attack modifier; strength for melee and dexterity for ranged. Depending on the class of the character will depend on what modifier they use for spells.

Once they have rolled and added up the total they match it up with the creature’s Armour Class = AC. The higher the AC the harder the creature is to hit. If they hit they deal damage. Once a creature takes more damage than their maximum hit points they are defeated.

Example: This is a 1 vs 1 fight. Fighter vs Zombie.

A zombie has an AC of 8. Hit points = HP of 22 and an attack called Slam with a +4 to the attack and it deals 1d6 + 1 damage on a hit. A fighter attacks with a longsword with a +6 to hit, and 1d8 + 4 damage on a hit. The fighter has an AC of 16 and his HP is 16 at level 2. The fighter attacks first rolls the d20, gets a total of 15. He hits and deals a total of 9 damage. Zombie is now on 12 HP. Zombie attacks gets a total of 15, misses and deals no damage. Potentially the fighter has an advantage because he/she will only miss the zombie if he/she rolls a 1 (it is also a critical miss and will automatically miss and do bad stuff) while the zombie needs a minimum roll of 12 and higher to hit the fighter.

In a D&D session on the other hand the players don’t know the exact AC or HPs of the creature they are fighting unless they try and investigate it (no one ever does, I on the other hand try but fail. Some DMs don’t even let players know this information because they think it will ruin a game). And the other thing is combat in D&D are never one vs one (rarely). They are usually 2 vs 1 or 2 vs 3 (players vs enemies).

That was the example. Now once a player passes the next person goes in order of imitative. So the order of a normal combat session is listed below.

  1. Recap of last session.
  2. Explore.
  3. Roll for imitative.
  4. Combat turns. Then combat ends.
  5. Explore some more.
  6. More combat turns.
  7. End of session.

Now then with 7 players fighting against 5 monsters you might think this would be a quick fight but no. With some players exploring while others are fighting it is actually 3 players at most fighting while the rest were looting previous enemies. So combat takes time. It’s fun but there is not much to write about. I could say that it can get very boring with players just saying “ok, I’ll attack that one, oh I got an 9, pass” they assume they miss without waiting or thinking about it and I have to constantly ask “…was that the total?” or when players just say “ok, I shoot it with my bow, rolls an 18, rolls 2 damage”  and passes forgetting that it should be more than that and I will then ask (sometimes because I forget due to controlling all the enemies’ HPs and turns) “…REALLY?” When the monsters HP are above 20, the fight will normally take 90 minutes. If the team was working together combat would probably take 20 minutes.

Now when I talk about team work I don’t mean everyone ganging up on one enemy at a time but sometimes using their turns to find out the enemies’ weakness and exploiting it or just knowing who to attack. A team full of fighters and clerics is not a good team. That is my opinion. Just because you beat an enemy, such as a zombie 10 times in 1 hour does not make the team good. It means the team is lucky or have made Min/Max characters.

So that is how a combat session is played. Takes 90 minutes (minimum) per fight, has me as a DM thinking the enemies may have been too challenging.