We’ll start with a note about Advantage in 5e and a snippet about those lingering injuries rules we’re using in this campaign:
– Advantage: IF you have advantage ALWAYS roll it. Last session provides a great illustration of why that’s important: Wulrf made an attack on a Ghost Boar that he had advantage on- he rolled a 19 (before any modifiers) so he snatched up his damage dice to roll damage. “Wait, you have advantage roll another d20, you might get a critical,” exhorted another player. So Wulrf’s player rolled a second d20 and guess what happened? That’s right Critical hit!
– Snippet on the lingering injuries tables: The more i use them the more i like them. There’s lots of low impact stuff on there but that makes total sense. Every time you roll a d20 you have a 5% chance of dealing a lingering injury. So many of them should be low consequences. On a more “Kick-Ass” note: Wulrf lopped the leg off a Ghost Boar with his critical hit last session… that’s pretty awesome!
DM shenanigans: The party has been “probed” twice now by a pair of Ghost Boar. Each time they’ve fared pretty well but since they are fleeing without taking any rests these brief encounters are resource consumers for them. Each one eats up spell slots, or barbarian rages, or healing potential. The thinking on this is that the Big Ole Ghost Boar is smart enough to tenderize the group a little before pouncing on them.
When the party does encounter the Big Ghost Boar: the one they are fleeing from it has circled around ahead of them. The smaller ones have been herding them into it’s trap. We had the Elder Ghost Boar (that’s what it’s actually called in Kobold Press’ “Creature Codex”) make a stealth check and it rolled really well, an 18 was it’s check. As the party entered the area it was hiding in. The 18 had beaten ALL of their passive perceptions so why didn’t we just let that stand for them? We figured they were all on high alert, they’d been asking if they could make perception checks all night as they fled through the wilderness. So it seemed fair to give them a shot at knowing it was time to pay the piper!
About half the party rolled really good perception checks, really well for a band of level 3 characters! So they heard a low grunt from the thicket nearby. This let them know roughly where the beast was hiding but not it’s exact location. We rolled initiative and those who made the perception DC had the option of firing at the general location of the beastie (with disadvantage). Attacks were made, two landed and then it was the Elder Ghost Boar’s turn. It charged at Torrik. IF you choose to run Ghost Boar in your game we cannot emphasize enough the strategic power of their charge! When a Ghost Boar bears down on a foe with 20′ of movement they lay down some damage! Even with Torrik’s barbarian rage the first hit nearly dropped him and he was down on the second round of combat with the Elder Ghost Boar.
The party worked really well together, using their various class abilities to great effect. Other than Torrik going down they held up really well, especially considering all the anxiety they had suffered through in regards to the Elder Boar. Boar Killed they are now pressed with the mechanical difficulty of getting a 7000lb carcass home when it took them two and a half days to get where they now are unencumbered.
So: Why did we only spring the Elder Ghost Boar on the party? There were other Ghost Boar out in the woods as well. Bottom line, because we don’t want to TPK the campaign. Game Night is supposed to be challenging but also fun. If they’d missed their perception rolls the Boar would’ve gotten a surprise round on the party: at level 3 that would have put one of them into death saves. The next round the Ghost Boar likely would have dropped another. Sure the Elder Ghost Boar is shedding HP the whole time but now the action economy is shifting rapidly. Once characters start dropping balance shifts quickly.
Story wise: we figured the Elder Ghost Boar is the chief protector of the others so it took this challenge on it’s own bristly shoulders… granted it did fail.
One more crunchy thing from last session: Gax the animal whisperer wanted the raven that follows Torrik around to carry a message back to NorthWood for him. We had him make a persuasion roll and (helped by guidance) his rolls were exceptional and he came up with a 24 on the check. SO, yeah… the raven agrees to assist them. Plus the raven has a vested interest in Torrik’s success…