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Looking around
(1/20/03 11:32:46 am)
Should CRM fights be like this?
I find myself doubting my powers as a DM after a long dreary session. I felt as though I was running the CRM properly having looked up the map and logicly thought out who should support whom.

The story...
Characters enter the main door (1) and are quiet and get in no prob, hang a right and rush down to stomp the guards at the table. THey do so fast and efficiently, the bell does not get ring (I didn't even allow them a chance to cry out as they died in the surprise round) Fellow guards heard nothing due to failed listen checks (thought maybe I'm being too nice) So then the PC's go down the hall (think it was going west)and proceed to kill the archers, this time they get an action and cry out.
I deemed a chain reaction occurred, next thing you know after they hole up and they prepare the whole gate of guards come after them around 30 +Wormspike, and the Ranger on the Howler. This fight took over 10 rounds with @40 including PC's attacking. It could have went much faster but there were a combination of factors stopping this: the wizard did not lend any big bang support (was waiting for a real scary baddie he said?!), the two thieves stood invis waiting for a good strike.
The result was a 7 hr session with very little action. Any feedback of what I could do to avoid this for next time? Was I being mean having everyone get there? The way I see it this may happen with every force in the CRM.

Here for a while
(1/20/03 11:53:04 am)
Re: Should CRM fights be like this?
The fact is, any commander with limited manpower or resources is very unlikely to mobilise and equip everyone at his disposal until it becomes abundantly clear that its required. Typically, assume that they will send in their troops piecemeal unless they have advance warning of the exact scale of the threat.

Imagine it like this...your party gets in and kills one set of guards quietly, then they move on but the alarm is sounded. Word gets around the guards that there are intruders inside. At this point thats all the info thats available. So Mereclar thinks about the most likely situation - probably a band of raiders from another faction within the CRM or bandits looking to grab some of the garrisons supplies. So he sends Wormspike with another batch of gnolls or humans (one or the other, he'll keep one group with him just in case it is important) to sort it out. Its only if a runner comes back to him saying that casualties are high and/or Wormspike is in trouble that Mereclar himself would get involved. And only if that wasn't enough would Terrenygit become a factor.

This is especially true in the early stages, before word of the PCs has got around. Try it and see how it works out??

Here for a while
(1/20/03 1:36:30 pm)
Re: Should CRM fights be like this?
I disagree slightly...

A lot of the guards aren't normally going to be sent by the leader of the defenses when an alarm is sounded. The off-duty guys hear the shouts themselves and they will move to investigate just as a normal course of action.

Eventually, word will get back to the big guys, and they'll join the fracas and hopefully give better tactics to the mooks.

IMC, most of the temple/bridge complex/gate fights became big all-out battles which took most of the session. Actually, my players liked those battles where things were coming from every direction, moreso than just a single big bad guy.

And yeah, the downside is that a lot of time ends up being burned by lots of dice rolling.

Looking around
(1/20/03 2:57:54 pm)
Re: Should CRM fights be like this?
Maybe the answer is somewhere inbetween. I guess it depends on the gate you are talking about. One of the gates says specifically that morale is good others are so so or bad. These are evil guys too and some of the leaders might decide to hole up in one area and ready an ambush rather than running to help.

I am accused of being a mean DM pretty often so I am trying to be fair as possible here. I think I was metagaming a bit as the NPCs would not know this was gonna be a tough bunch to get rid of.

Here for a while
(1/20/03 3:42:42 pm)
BIG CRM fights.
I agree with SIERK, my players know it's gonna hit the fan when they see a bridge complex or temple. Every time it's taken the whole session to deal that fight out.

Also, those are the players' favorite sessions. They're challanging and fast paced and there's a definite feeling of accomplishment afterwords. They also love the XP and loot. :)

If i were you, i would have done something to force the players hands. Maybe start throwing in alchemests fires, or setting up the ballistas to fire into the room. Force them out into the big fight.

Remember, only YOU know exactly what the Main Gate guards do and don't have access to. Feel free to change it on the fly to make the fight more interesting.

Here for a while
(1/20/03 9:08:11 pm)
Re: BIG CRM fights.
At the main gate:

I just took a breather when the alarm bell rang and decided that it would probably take at least a round for everyone in the area to realize that they were under attack, stand up and draw a weapon. So the party got one free round based on that. Then I measured how far away the NPCs were in their individual rooms and how long it would take them to get from point A to point B. I made a checklist and we were back in action. The bad-guys came in waves and most of the weaker ones were dealt with relatively quickly. The tougher ones took longer and near TPK'd my gang after they'd used up most of their resources. It was perfect all three times (my gang kept taking two-month game-time recesses to lick their wounds so the gate-house got restocked each time more or less).

I think that entering the CRM should be a very difficult proposition. The guards ARE a little lax (leaving the door open, etc) but they have the forces to back themselves up and don't get attacked regularly (until your party came along, of course).

Having to clear out the gate house three times drove into my PCs heads the idea that if you sit on your laurels, the enemies will restock as well and also gave them a clear picture that this place is an organism and a "living dungeon" as Monte advised.

Still here? Wow.
(1/21/03 3:38:01 am)
Re: BIG CRM fights.
In the end it depends on your players. In one campaign half of my players hated fights that took a full session. In another all the players love such long lasting fights because it takes their PCs to the brink of death and when they win they have done something to be proud of. To be honest, if your players belong to the type that do not really like long difficult fights, this adventure (or any published adventure) might not be for them. Just remember one of the pieces of good advice that Monte Cook gave in the Dragon magazine on massive battles: don't be afraid to summarize a fight when the end-result is clearly obvious. There is no sense to keep the battle going when there are only a few low level opponents left. I know that it is not easy to make this disision, but doing it at the right time will greatly speed up the game by removing a very boring part.

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