Teamwork

This one is gonna be short. I’ve got fallout on the brain, but I still want to keep putting posts out there, keeping up with Warmachine, D&D and whatever else I’ve been up to. Recently, its just been the two and a little bit of painting, but Fallout has co-opted that, ruining my Iron Man streak of painting a Warcaster every month for the whole year. Sacrifices were made!

In Warmachine I’ve been examining my Skorne lists, pulling up Hexy 2 and In D&D I’ve been working on killing my players. Well, not actively killing, but making sure they know who’s boss.

Lord of Arbiters 

Just over a week ago, I had a fairly swift conversation with Trevor Christensen on Twitter. He mentioned that he was bringing Hexy 2 to a tournament, and I mentioned that… I was not thrilled with the decision. He, with all the qualities that make Trevor the person he is, pointed me at a old article where he discusses what models make it into the list and what he intends to do with them over on Handcannon Online. Its an extremely good read and one I suggest if you have the joy of playing with or against Skorne.

What was the most surprising was that at the end of the article, I wanted to give the list, and the caster a spin or two. This is especially problematic seeing as I felt he was towards the bottom of the barrel, and I have just given up trying to make bottom of the barrel casters work. However, I can be proven wrong, and when, in one of the other articles, each of the Skorne players interviewed suggested playing the Lord Arbiter, I had to give it a go.

The first run, though, was a disaster. I left my second Willbreaker, my second Taskmaster  and the entire unit of slingers at home. While I was willing to proxy a single model (the Taskmaster) I wasn’t about to do it with a whole unit. Instead, The Croak Raiders got to go in, and the Basilisk Drake got the boot. In Hindsight, the Drake could have done a ton of work, but instead, he got the cut.

I played against an alternate runes of war build, took first turn, and started in on him fairly quickly.

His list:

Doomshaper, Shaman of the Gnarls
-Rune Bearer
-Glacier King
-Earthborn Dire Troll
-Slag Troll
Runeshapers x4
Krielstone x6
Janissa Stonetide
Whelps

My list
Lord Arbiter Hexeris
-Bronzeback
-Gladiator
-Cyclops Brute
-Basilisk Krea
Croak Raiders x10
Gatorman Posse x5
Paingiver Beast Handlers x4
Willbreaker
Soulward
Agonizer
Paingiver Taskmaster x2

With two units of Runeshapers holding each flank behind a wall, and the Glacier King and Earthborn holding the center, I was in a tough spot. I thought I played well enough, but misjudging a couple things and forgetting how fast the Glacier King is, I lost that game pretty solidly. Glacier King and the Earthborn were up, as were almost all of the Rune Shapers. I did, however, make it pretty spooky, Dropping about 4 boosted damage rolls into the Shaman over the course of the last two turns, leaving him with about 7 damage left. If I had been more cognizant of what his list does, how it operates, and what to try and pull off, I could have given him a bit more of a run for his money. Instead. he pummeled me quite thoroughly.

Focus

D&D is a group game, one in which a fairly large group of players get together and decide to tell a tale of mighty heroes, fell villains and deadly encounters. Sometimes, one concept will break loose and threaten the stability and enjoyment of the game for everyone. This issue must be addressed swiftly or there will be little chance the game will survive.

Recently, with my group, it was deadly encounters.  The two prior weeks, and one encounter before that, felt like the group was getting ready to evaporate into paste. The first encounter felt like they were saved by dice, with attacks that do massive damage on failed saving throws either never connecting or having their saving throws passed. The second encounter was also lopsided, but seemed to be based on the fact that the players were surrounded and penned in, forcing them to attack only what was in front of them as teammate after teammate fell. The last one, though, felt like it was the players fault. Three huge monsters were encountered and they split up the damage. They players attacked in retaliation, each acting on their own to try and take the encounter. Once again, like the two weeks before, only a single player made it through completely unharmed, with the rest dropping what seemed like multiple times.

After the combat – which lasted almost the entire session – We had a discussion on combat, tactics, and thought process when going into a fight. One of the big things to come out of that was the simple phrase: Focus Fire. Whats really cool about this is that it doesn’t matter what your playing or how you handle combat, it works. In theater of the mind, basic diagrams or in miniature, the concept proves its worth because once a monster is dead, its no longer making attacks.

which was a huge problem in the most recent encounter. The three frost worms and two immature frost worms were all attacking and trying to eat players, but the players were wearing down them at the same pace, a pace that was so similar that they all died the same round. It was incredibly unfortunate as they have high Attack bonuses and can do an enormous (3d10+2d6) amount of damage with a single attack. more than enough to kill a severely injured character of cause massive damage to someone still standing tall.

Now, on Tuesday, the group made me both pleased and sad. I was pleased because they were able to take on three encounters in a row while not being overwhelmed, and most of them were, though a little less threatening, close to the original.

I am sad, because now my job as a DM had gotten that much harder. Now that they are working as a team, I’m going to have a problem threatening them!