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Helderik
Looking around
(3/18/03 3:56 am)
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Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
Last session, my groupís cleric (NPC) died while fighting Utreshimon. There are now 5 PC's left:

- Female human paladin 4 of Heironeous
- Male human fighter 4
- Male elven rogue 4
- Male dwarven psionic warrior
- Male human Fighter 2/ wizard 1

Obviously, they lack a good spellcaster. I was wondering if this is going to cause serious problems during the adventure. Off course the paladin and the psionic warrior have some magical abilities. Then thereís the fighter/wizard with a limited amount of magical tricks, but none of them is able to cast advanced spells. Also without their healing cleric, the party has only a very limited number of wounds that can be healed (mainly by the paladin and some magic potions). With RttToEE being a high attrition campaign, it looks to me like the group is in serious trouble.

Is it possible to finish RttToEE without spellcasters? Or should I create a new NPC for the group (wizard of a cleric?) to avoid these problems? My players do not yet realise what kind of adventure this is so they arenít realising that theyíre in troubleÖ

Can anybody give some advice about this matter because Iíve only been a DM for a year or two and Iíve never run a game with mid/high level PCís (above 7th). Iím not sure what the impact of a good spellcaster can be in a group of high level PCísÖ.

Zenon
Here for a while
(3/18/03 5:19 am)
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Re: Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
Quote:
My players do not yet realise what kind of adventure this is so they arenít realising that theyíre in troubleÖ


Well, two things you can do:

1) Push an NPC on them. IIRC, there is a mid-level cleric in Hommlet who is around 5th level. You can say that Burne and Rufus ask the PC's to let him go along with them. This is the heavy handed approach.

2) Wait for the PC's to figure it out by themselves. I think once they realize that they are going against a bunch of evil clerics that they will figure it out that they need some of that casting goodness on their side too. My PC's started almost the same way, the only casters they had were multiclass. Rerrid Hammersong (the NPC cleric of Moridin in Rastor) was asked by the PC's to accompany them in their quest to reclaim his ancestor's home (the CRM).

Will it be impossible for them without high-level straight classsed casters? No, but it will be much more difficult for them. They'll have to mow through the mooks with brawn instead of area effect spells, curing will have to come from items, removing bad effects (paralyzed, blinded, fear, stat damage, level drain) will be next to impossible.

Which way is better, giving them one or making them realize that they need it by themselves? Well that kind of depends on your group. I think I would wait for them to realize they need one, there are several ways to introduce one (from replacement PCs bringing one in to NPC's that can be asked for help).

Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(3/18/03 5:21 am)
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Re: Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
The biggest problem is the lack of cures. The wizard can use any kind of bammo-wand with no problem at all, so that's OK. Also, without area-affecting spells, grunts will become more of an issue because the group will have to wade through them all.

Have you talked to your players about this? I think it would be a good idea to let them in a little on the fact that the campaign will see a lot of combat and that retreating to buy cleric-on-a-stick will not always be an option.

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Helderik
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(3/18/03 6:32 am)
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Re: Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
I guess you're right about the biggest problem being the lack of cures. I agree that a cleric would be most useful. Beside his curing ability also the turning undead could be very useful. I think I will let the group go on for a while. Within a few sessions, they will probably notice their lack of spellcasters. Also, maybe the fighter/wizard will in time become more of a wizard than a fighter. They could always try to find a new cleric.

Before next session I will try to talk to the players and discus my concerns about their lack of healing powers. Hopefully they will acknowledge the problem and try and find a solution for it. I think I'm not going to hint them any further about their lack of spellcasters. It will probably be best for them to find out about that themselves....

Edited by: Helderik at: 3/18/03 6:32:57 am
Infiniti2000
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(3/18/03 6:49 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
A valid option would be a wand of cure lights and/or cure moderates for the paladin and a wand of fireballs for the partial wizard. I would advise against encouraging your players into a specific class because then you will get into the "so who's the unlucky one who has to the the cleric?" syndrome. However, if the above sentiment is held by your players, I encourage them to post in the D&D Characters section (or review some of the old threads there) explaining the power of clerics.

In our rotating campaign (which is going on now), I play a straight cleric and he plum kicks butt and is a lot of fun.

Cordo Crowfoot
Here to stay
(3/18/03 7:17 am)
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Re: Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
Quote:
My players do not yet realise what kind of adventure this is so they arenít realising that theyíre in troubleÖ
I would suggest warning them outside of game unless they are a very experienced group who enjoys not knowing what they are in for.

It's good to let them know to expect higher lethality then they might be used to in other adventures.

"They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers. They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came... They were scum who died violent deaths, hanging on to a certain cachet among the impressionable through their undeniable bravery and their occasionally impressive exploits" China Mieville, Perdido Street Station

WarrenWright
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(3/18/03 9:28 am)
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Re: Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
I like the idea of the Paladin seeking to aquire CLW wands, as they can easily heal everyone after a battle, and of the wizard seeking more powerful wizard wands to add some oomph.

I also advise against putting a single class wizard or cleric out there as an NPC. Those classes are too powerful and influential to be run by a DM...better not to have NPCs that can change the nature of the battle entirely.

If you want to add some healing though, I'd give them an NPC that has a few levels of cleric and a few levels of fighter.

Perhaps a grizzled old warrior for . He's tough, and packs a punch, but doesn't have the higher level cleric spells, so his spellcasting will mostly be healing.

-Skaros

smetzger
Here for a while
(3/18/03 12:45 pm)
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Re: Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
I would warn them of the lethality OoC. If the Fighter and/or Paladin each picked up a level of Cleric(let the Paladin freely multi-class) with Healing and War domains they wouldn't lose much power and if they had half-decent wisdom be able to cast 3 cure lights per day. Plus they could also use cure wands.

They are already a large party and its early in the adventure. I don't think you should push an NPC on them. Let them figure out how to handle the problem. They could multi-class to Cleric, when someone dies(which will likely happen) that person could make a new Cleric character, or they could activly seek out an NPC.

Caedrel
Here for a while
(3/18/03 2:14 pm)
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Re: Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
I agree that you shouldn't have force an NPC on them - they're hard enough to manage properly already...

My party is actually moving towards fewer spellcasters - the player of one of the clerics has decided she wants to play an elven archer instead, so now there's only the one cleric (and no wizards, sorcerors or bards) in the party of 6-7.

From this experience, I agree that a wand of cure light wounds is very important - they'll burn through the charges VERY quickly, so you have to figure out how they're going to acquire more reasonably readily (see the Best of the Boards entry on "Dungeon Shop in a rock" for the sorts of problems this raises). However, the party should always have a couple of potions of curing on hand too - the Paladin is probably going to be involved in a lot of melee and may not be in a fit state after a battle to activate the wand.

Having said that, don't forget that rogues have access to the Use Magic Device skill, which should be good enough for post-battle healing.

You may want to talk to them about what they're going to do about negative energy level inflicting undead, - without access to Restoration, that Fortitude save after 24 hours is scary. A wand of restoration is a lot more expensive than a wand of cure light wounds, too, and they'd be completely reliant on the rogue since Restoration isn't on the Paladin's spell list.

I've though about a bit, and in some ways this sort of party is better off than a "standard" group - not having to worry about whether they're out of spells, their chief resources are ammo and hit points. With bags of holding, they can have enough of the former, and with the wands of curing they can restock the latter and could adventure for longer periods without having to worry about protecting wizards or sorcerors who have run out of spells.

Also, with their greater melee effectiveness and numbers, many of the encounters in RttToEE will be easier - they'll make mincemeat of the bad guys in the more straight up fights, such as the human and gnoll guards about the place. Some will be significantly harder, though, where the bad guys are in a defensible position and can throw spells or ranged attacks at them (eg. Kellial and the ogres behind the door in the barbican; Tessimon on the central platform in the Temple of Fire...)

Basically, I've found that people shouldn't take up something for the sake of "party balance" if that isn't what they really want to do. They should build their characters they way they want to, which gives them greater empathy with them and gets the player along to more gaming sessions. The group just has to think about the implications and come up with creative solutions, just as you're doing here.

Helderik
Looking around
(3/19/03 2:43 am)
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Re: Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
Well, I suppose Iím not going to use a NPC (yet). I agree with most of you that the group will learn soon enough if they need a spellcaster or not. Itís true that a number of battles will certainly be easier for them while other battles will be more difficult. Already Iím experiencing their skills in melee combat. Every challenge without an enemy spellcaster is usually a bit easy for them (except for encounters with for example Utreshimon). The rogue and fighter/wizard are deadly archers while the others enter the melee combat. So for now this combination has indeed saved them the trouble of resting in case their spellcasters ran out of spells (their NPC-cleric was actually a fighter1/cleric2).

I didnít realise that the lack of restoration-spells could also become very nasty. I suppose that this could become a real problem if they start losing levels to the negative level inflicting undead. The groupís rogue has spent a maximum amount of skillpoints to use magic device, so this could be a solution to some of the problems. However until his skill is +10 he could cause some serious accidents while using a wand of clw or restoration. Hate to think what happens if he fails his use magic device check by more than 10 points :o Ö..

madfox
Still here? Wow.
(3/19/03 3:29 am)
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Re: Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
On higher levels your players will learn the hard way that a wand of cure light wounds starts to loose it's combat potency. When opponents start dealing a minimum of 20 damage, cure light wounds will not save the day. They are going to miss the cure serious and cure critical wounds spells badly. By the time your characters have 80 hit points (level 8 or so for fighters with decent con scores) you will need half the charges of a wand after each battle. You will need a quiver of Ehlonna just for the wands ;)

The worst thing is that you as a DM will also feel it. Recovering from a battle will take a lot more time and hence the party will be much slower. Luckily, the players in my group always have at least one player select a cleric and in some cases there are several clerics in the group.

Helderik
Looking around
(3/19/03 3:49 am)
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Re: Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
I see your point madfox. However for now I guess (PC's being 4th level) a wand of cure light wounds will do. I'm hoping that they will realize they need a cleric by the time their 6th of 7th level. This could result in them trying to find a cleric or in case of a PC death, no raise dead but a new (cleric) PC. Maybe even someone multiclassing. Next sessions I will try to give them some subtle hints so the players can start thinking about a solution to their problem....

Infiniti2000
Still here? Wow.
(3/19/03 6:34 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
Cure serious wounds is also on the paladin's spell list, so wand of it would also work, though it would be expensive. As for level-draining undead, there are very few (the spectre in the CRM near the South Gate and Thrommel in the Outer Fane -- did I miss any?), so I wouldn't worry too much about that. I suppose a random encounter could occur, but then I might suggest just avoiding those types of random encounters, but YMMV. Best of luck.

Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(3/19/03 6:47 am)
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Re: Without spellcasters in RttToEE?
Well, there's a bunch of wraiths in some abandoned catacombs, somewhere. A lot of doomdreamers are buried there. Sure, the place screams EVIL!, but we know how much of a deterrant that can be...

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

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