A Post-Mortem

We finally had the encounter that the whole game was leading to.  An 8 year old with the Hand and Eye of Vecna and some elf-vampire-martial-artist thing that had 5 attacks per round + counter attacks and rolled an uncanny number of crits are in the temple of Wee Jas performing some ritual that all of the folk in the city are attending.  A dozen orphans are around the altar feeding a black energy.

The First round resulted in my getting a solid hit on the big bad, her dragon laying out the Ninja deep into negative territory, the Cleric casting a buff, the Bardbarian raging and the Psionicist doing some melee damage.  In retaliation for my 40 points of damage, Vecna makes me magic-sick.  Also in retaliation, the Vampire puts me at a negative, but the priest’s blessing kept me from going down double digits. The psionicist disintegrates Vecna for a lot of damage, putting him in the triple digit area of cumulative damage.  The Cleric heals me and the Bardbarian does a pittance of damage to the Vampire.  Vecna utterly destroys the Psionicist, who failed her fort save against instant death.  The Vampire curb stomped me down to 4 HP on her way to take out the Cleric.  The  Bardbarian at least manages to KO the aspect of Vecna.  While the Vampire starts grappling with the Cleric, I figure my best bet is to go over and try to destroy the altar of evil.  The Cleric and Vampire struggle, and the Bardbarian who was complaining that he couldn’t use his songs while he raged had stopped raging and decided he would try to use his shout to destroy the Altar.  While I was there destroying the Altar and there were a dozen orphan children standing around it.  The Altar takes 30ish sonic damage, the children take 30ish sonic damage, I take 30ish sonic damage, the amulet of fireballs I’m carrying takes 30ish sonic damage, exploding and causing an additional 30ish damage, charring the cracked altar and completely incinerating myself and the orphan children.  The Vampire finishes con-draining the cleric and gave the bardbarian a non-standard game over where, after vomiting blood to resurrect the aspect of Vecna, she fish slapped him to death with his own rib-cage.  Vecna Wins. Fatality.

Glad that’s over.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this was that apparently no one besides myself had ever played 3.5 before (or if they had, they’d never played with character builds this complicated?) and most of the players were completely baffled by the combat, had no idea how to make their characters do what they wanted them to do, did not know what numbers to add to what for base attack and damage, and it was something of a problem.  This is not a criticism at all of the players, but a note that really high-character-level play is complex when you DO know the system, so it’s really hard on players new to a system to give them ridiculously complex and powerful character builds and expect them to be able to function without warming up to the system first.  Playing the game at lower levels and the experience of leveling up lets players accumulate the knowledge of how their characters work and how the game works at nice incremental levels.  I guess the thing that gets me is that since death was almost a certainty anyway, a simpler system for adjudication might have been more fun.  I feel extra bad for the guy who died in the first round.  Hell, we spent an entire evening, in a snow storm, for like 4 straight hours min-maxing and making obscure 3.5 gestalt classes so that dude could die in the first round of the game’s only encounter.