We had our second session of the 4E game today. It went fairly well. We had a time limit, as Alex had to go somewhere this evening, so we only had 4 hours to play. Still, within that 4 hours we managed to finish off the first section of the module.
In the last session, we'd fought some pugwhampees, small jackal-headed humanoids. They give off a bad-mojo aura, so everyone needs to roll to hit twice, take the lower roll, if you're near them. That made me fairly valuable fighting them, as I'm ranged so I was usually out of their aura, and when I was in it I had auto hitting magic missiles. Adam, playing a Warlock, is similarly ranged, and was doing good as well. Our Fighter (Jeremy) and Warlord (Alex) were doing well when they could hit, but that aura is nasty.
At first, we spent some time investigating the alter the pugwhampees had desecrated, and I found a gem in a gnoll skull decoration. Then a pugwhampee started sniping at us from behind, so we bashed it pretty good and made it run away. Of course we followed.
Well, we finished off the last of the little beasts, then fought some stirges and found a bit of treasure. There was also a statue of the monastery's patron saint, with hands upraised in offering, and scratch marks on the floor showing that something's underneath, but we couldn't find the key to open it.
We went to the next section of the monastery. The first door was to a library, where there were swarms and swarms of rats. We thought about trying to just shut the door and run away, but I used my daily power, Phantom Chasm, which made a zone that made any rats moving into it fall prone. How can a swarm fall prone? Who cares. Say they're stunned, or temporarily disoriented, or whatever. My Icy Blast that lets me slide targets hit was handy after that, as I could slide them out of the zone and when they re-entered they fell prone again. So with bashes from the fighter-types and zaps from the Warlock, we finished them off. The only book that was intact was a book about elemental creatures. We saved it for later.
Time was running a bit short, so Enzo decided to just narrate the rest of the search of the first floor. No more monsters, no more treasure. The caravan arrived, we were congratulated, the prodigal NPC Cleric returned, and we took an 'extended rest' to recharge. During the rest I read the book, which was about powerful djinn warriors of wind who fought evil with four legendary weapons (one of them being the patron saint of this monastery).
Our boss then showed us how to open a sealed door with stairs leading down behind it, and asked us to clear out these crypts. We were expecting undead, but instead encountered a weird SCIENCE!!! type lair with all of these strange vats and devices with greenish goo inside. Alex's Warlord Minotaur found a big cleaver with a syringe attached, and we thought it would be fun to fill it with some of the goo. Turns out (likely you saw this coming, I sort of did) the stuff was Green Slime, which attacked. It was a long fight, but we managed to put it down without serious injury (the slime's attack is toned down over Old School versions for sure, but man did it have lots of hit points!).
We then got rewards from the boss lady (I got a Staff of Wind +1, not sure what the others all got yet), and we advanced to Level 2. And we managed to finish right at 5:00 when Alex had to leave.
Enzo, Jeremy, Alex and I are all now getting the hang of our characters and how best to use their abilities and powers. That made the combats go faster. Fighting things besides pugwhampees was nice, because those re-roll auras were annoying! The stirges went down fast. We're coordinating out attacks better, and remembering to use those encounters and dailies. That helps move things along faster.
It was fun today. Enzo is a pretty good DM. He's still not completely familiar with the rules, but he did a good job of making rulings and moving on if we couldn't find a relevant rule quickly in the books. He was really encouraging us to describe our attacks more, and that makes a difference. The first combat against the remaining pugwhampees was long, as was the green slime battle, but the stirge fight and rat fight were both fairly quick affairs, and we had some good chances to roleplay our characters during combat. I'm still not quite sold on 4E, though. I'm seeing the system and the play-style it's designed for better, and while it's not bad, it's really not what I'd prefer. But the group is good, and it is fun, so I'm definitely not going to quit.