Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 Who's Yer Con)

True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 Who's Yer Con) 7 years 3 months ago #1

So after sifting through the numerous dead bodies and shattered pieces of rubble, here is an analysis of this past weekend's True Grind event at Who's Yer Con.

There were 6 events (4 on Saturday, 2 on Sunday) with 56 participants. Although players were *supposed* to do Mini-Adventure or Grind only once, I know of at least two situations where someone went through Grind more than once. Fer shame! :angry:

Saturday 6 PM: 10 players. Hardcore Victory. 7 players survived, 3 dead.

Saturday 7:30 PM: 8 players. Hardcore Victory. 3 players survived, 5 dead.

Saturday 9 PM: 10 players. Hardcore Ran Out of Time. 3 players around when time was called, 7 dead.

Saturday 10:30 PM: 9 players. Hardcore TPK. All 9 died.

Sunday 11 AM: 12 players. Hardcore Victory. 9 players survived, 3 dead.

Sunday 12:30 PM: 6.5 players (0.5 cause of the Halfling Fighter!). Normal Victory. 3.5 players survived, 3 dead.

Participation Rate: 56 / 60 = 93%

So of the 6 runs, 5 were Hardcore (83%) and 1 was Normal (17%).

For the single Normal group (small sample size), it was a Victory (100%), with 7 players, of which 4 were survivors (57%) and 3 pieces of dragon chow (43%).

For the 5 Hardcore groups, 3 of them were victories (60%) - though each had at least 3 casualties, 1 ran out of time (20%), and 1 was a TPK total party kill (20%). Of the 49 Hardcore players, 19 survived (39%), 3 ran out of time (6%), and 27 were fed to the dogs (55%).


Looking at classes, we have: (S = Survivor, O = Out of Time, D = Dead)

Barbarian (1S + 1O + 1D = 3 total)
Bard (1S + 5D = 6 total)
Cleric (3S + 3D = 6 total)
Druid (1S + 1O + 4D = 6 total)
Dwarf Fighter (3S + 1D = 4 total)
Elf Wizard (1S + 2D = 3 total)
Fighter (5S + 3D = 8 total)
Monk (2S + 1D = 3 total)
Paladin (3S + 3D = 6 total)
Ranger (1S + 3D = 4 total)
Rogue (2S + 3D = 5 total)
Wizard (1O + 1D = 2 total)

- One anomaly was a run where two experienced tokenholics could not agree on who would play Druid. The situation got out of hand, and I just ended up letting them both play Druid. I won't get too much into it, but I will say that I am disappointing these experienced individuals (who I am both friends with) couldn't figure out a fair way to resolve the issue. :(

- There was also a run where we somehow ended up with 12 players. They ended up having 1 Dwarf Fighter and 3 Fighters (which is why there were 8 Fighters despite only 6 runs).


So every single party had a Bard, Cleric, Fighter, and Paladin. The Wizard was the least popular (two instances), followed by the Barbarian, Elf Wizard, and Monk (three instances each).

If we look at survival rates, we have:

Dwarf Fighter (75%)
Monk (67%)
Fighter (62.5%)
Cleric (50%)
Paladin (50%)
Rogue (40%)
Barbarian (33%)
Elf Wizard (33%)
Ranger (25%)
Bard (17%)
Druid (17%)
Wizard (0%)

Poor human wizard! Major surprise was the high death rate of the Druid.

- EVERYONE played a 5th level character (no 4th levels at all)

- I was surprised by the severe underutilization of class abilities. I only recall a single use of Greater Rage. The Fighter's Weapon Specialization was only used once. Stunning Fist was never used.

- Also I saw several Barbarians, Fighters, and Paladins using Relic/Legendary Bows when I strongly suspect they didn't have the necessary Dexterity.


Encounter List

[Room #1]

1. Guardian Naga (the polite and noble snake)
2. Helmed Horror (suit of armor)
3. Blink Dog "Fido"

[Room #2]

4. Mimic "Chester"
5. Rust Monster "Rusty"
6. Blink Dog "Bowzer"

[Room #3]

7. Spectator (Beholder-Kin)
8. Umber Hulk "Uff da"
9. Blink Dog "Chomper"

[Room #4]

10. Medusa
11. Stone Golem "Rocky"
12. Blink Dog "Duke"

[Final Room]

13. Ember (Dragon)
14. One or two Invisible Stalkers


- Ember was a dragon whose color (Black/Blue/Green/Red/White) was randomly determined by a die roll (which could have been rerolled with an Eldritch Runestone). Due to pure chance, all the groups ended up facing acid dragons (4 black and 2 green). That's just the way things rolled.

- Blink Dogs would accumulate so if you ignored them, you could theoretically have up to 4 around at a time. Though 1 or 2 at a time was the average.

- As a homage to Stu's Blink Dog in the first Grind, this year's Blink Dogs and Invisible Stalkers had a special mechanic. As their action, instead of attacking, they could "run interference" by sliding an extra slider to try and knock out the players' attacks. Overall, Raven did a spectacular job with the Blink Dog sliding (though there were a few cases when the puppies failed their master!). Hopefully players enjoyed this extra challenge rather than getting frustrated/annoyed!

- Rusty ate an awful lot of Templar Armor and Mithral Chain.

- I was surprised when one player actually was using Spectre's Spectacles. The +10 to saves was really helpful against the Umber Hulk and Medusa!

- One Rogue lost his Nightshade's +2 Short Sword attacking the rust monster. His second Nightshade's got stuck to Chester (the Mimic). He didn't want his third Nightshade's stuck so he used a +1 Short Sword which also got stuck. Unfortunately his third Nightshade's then got Shattered by the Medusa!

- One Bard got stuck to Chester (the Mimic). He attacked with a Whip that they got stuck. He used his fist, which got stuck. And then with his final available hand, he did enough damage to fist the mimic (with a critical), killing it.


EASTER EGGS

- Blink Dogs could be distracted by the creative use of tokens. Turkey legs and rations were the most obvious choices. After killing the medusa, one scientific bard cut off the medusa head and tried to get the final Blink Dog's attention. Raven rolled to see if Duke would notice it and he did. Duke then had to roll a saving throw vs petrification which he failed!

- After killing Chester (the Mimic), any melee weapons that hit him (or that he grabbed) remained stuck. Universal Solvent was the most obvious answer, which was used several times. I would have also accepted any alcoholic tokens (which no one used). In a few cases, I allowed for creative solutions because the party had nothing else - a Flask of Combustion (though it caused some collateral damage) and a Druid Freezing Orb spell (won't always work, but I made an exception).

- The Medusa's gaze could be really nasty and killing her did not restore any players back to flesh. However, there was a built-in mechanism to do that. Experienced players might recall the Stone Golem and Medusa they faced many years ago in the city of Greyhawk. Taking stone golem fingers and mashing them up with a Mortar & Pestle would create a paste that could be used to restore players back to flesh. We even had some hints built into the Bardic Lore to suggest this. Unfortunately, no groups ended up using this easter egg.

- Ember had an ioun stone. Fortunately it was not a Black Pearl. Instead, it was an Eldritch Prism which protected the Invisible Stalkers from harm. Most groups just ignored the Stalkers, though one group managed to destroy the Ioun Stone and dispatch the Stalkers before finishing off Ember.



Please feel free to add any feedback, analysis, commentary, stories or anecdotes! B)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Last edit: by Incognito.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 Who's Yer Con) 7 years 3 months ago #2

Overall, I was really impressed. Eric and Raven, you did a great job running things.

I really enjoyed the flavor of the protective dogs and the idea of having the interactions between the monsters. But I do think the mechanic has the potential to be overly powerful as the doggies can just slide full-bore without having to worry about staying on the board. While a few times the dogs did accidently turn a hit into a crit, it seemed that much more often in our run that a single slide for the dogs turned multiple hits into misses at once. I didn't keep track of the actual results though, so this may not be as much of an impact as it felt at the time. Overall though I liked the dogs.

The Eldritch Prism was a nice twist. Where can I get one to protect our Wizard? ;)

While I've been playing in TD for several years, this was my first time going through a Grind, so I don't have previous Grind experiences to compare it to. But it definitely got me interested in trying to get into a slot or two at GenCon.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 Who's Yer Con) 7 years 3 months ago #3

Eric, great breakdown of the Grind! Very interesting that no groups attempted Nightmare. I loved the data on percent of characters played, survival rates of each class, etc. It would be great if we could see similar data from GENCON. I wonder if that is the first time we've had 12 players on a single run.

It isn't surprising that you'd have players using the Relic/Legendary bows without the necessary Dex, that was my concern from early on. I wonder if Coaches will be checking that at GENCON. And even if they do, there is nothing to prevent players from showing a different bow at the Coaching Room, and switching to the Relic/Legendary bow on the run. It would be nice if there were some controls on that.

And again, you and Raven did a fantastic job DMing True Grind! I hadn't played it in a few years, and it is as fun as I remembered.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 Who's Yer Con) 7 years 3 months ago #4

Incognito wrote: - Also I saw several Barbarians, Fighters, and Paladins using Relic/Legendary Bows when I strongly suspect they didn't have the necessary Dexterity.


except my paladin, with +15 to-hit ranged, I don't think you were questioning my dex. also, feel free to move that survivor paladin stat to ranger if you like ;)
just think when I am playing ranger with the new ioun stones...I think I can get up to +20 to-hit.
this is not a signature.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 Who's Yer Con) 7 years 3 months ago #5

The blink dogs, while annoying, were a lot of fun. Bowser had a great time with one of my Polymeric Decoys for a round and Raven was sure to mention the bits of rubber ducky in his teeth after that.

I have to congratulate our Druid for the freezing orb trick to get people's weapons back.

I am disappointed if people used their relic/legendary bows if they did not have the dexterity for them. I kept looking at my relic bow and asked myself a few times, "Who would know?" and the answer always came back, "I would know."
You can't fix stupid but you can TPK it.

"Mamma always said that True Dungeon is like a box of Drow Poisons. Ya never know how you're gonna die."

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 Who's Yer Con) 7 years 3 months ago #6

kurtreznor wrote:

Incognito wrote: - Also I saw several Barbarians, Fighters, and Paladins using Relic/Legendary Bows when I strongly suspect they didn't have the necessary Dexterity.


except my paladin, with +15 to-hit ranged, I don't think you were questioning my dex. also, feel free to move that survivor paladin stat to ranger if you like ;)
just think when I am playing ranger with the new ioun stones...I think I can get up to +20 to-hit.


If I would have been able to get the Cleric or Druid to say 'no, we do not have time to be healing you' or to you know, heal me . . . your actual Ranger would have lived too. Seriously, I do have a 15 point heal available if you guys don't have time to heal me. But, it was a blast. That's the biggest problem with groups like this. They didn't know I don't ask for healing until I am in 'ready to die' range.

And I knew those Spectre Spectacles I have been equipping for 3 years would eventually come in handy.
The Worst Rogue Ever!
Member of the Michigan Marauders
Ranger Extra-ordinary
--Rocky


BEWARE THERE ARE SILVER BULETTES NEARBY!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Last edit: by darkangel866.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 Who's Yer Con) 7 years 3 months ago #7

You nearly got this Dwarf Fighter. I was down to 3 HP after failing a save vs acid breath. The Druid popped his last big healing spell on me. Then promptly took a face full of acid and died. Way to take one for the team.
D&D teaches all the important lessons in life - the low blow, the cheap shot, the back stab, the double cross. - Jerry Marsischky

Let them trap us. We have our swords. - Elric of Melnibone.

You try to get them to play the game, but all they want to do is play the rules. - Ardak Kumerian

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend - Faramir

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Last edit: by Harlax.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 Who's Yer Con) 7 years 3 months ago #8

Mike Steele wrote: Eric, great breakdown of the Grind! Very interesting that no groups attempted Nightmare. I loved the data on percent of characters played, survival rates of each class, etc. It would be great if we could see similar data from GENCON. I wonder if that is the first time we've had 12 players on a single run.


I actually still have the data from last year's Grind. Just haven't had the time to post it. Been busy ever since GenCon, though Who's Yer Con was a good excuse to get back in the thick of things.

Nightmare is meant to be very, very challenging.

Most groups (even those with limited tokens) should reach the final battle and have a good chance of winning on Normal. Poor teamwork, having fewer than 10 players, etc. may affect the casualty rate but I still expect most Normal parties to "win."

With Hardcore, most groups should reach the final battle. Most players should survive till the final battle (or at least the battle right before the final battle). There should be a fair chance at winning (though casualties are highly likely) but there is no guarantee.

Nightmare is only for those brave souls who want the ultimate challenge and have no problem dying. No punches will be pulled in Nightmare. It's very well possible to die in the very first (or second) room. It will be an accomplishment getting to the final battle, and super impressive if you actually win. But good luck with that! :evil:

It isn't surprising that you'd have players using the Relic/Legendary bows without the necessary Dex, that was my concern from early on. I wonder if Coaches will be checking that at GENCON. And even if they do, there is nothing to prevent players from showing a different bow at the Coaching Room, and switching to the Relic/Legendary bow on the run. It would be nice if there were some controls on that.


In the future, I plan to be more vigilant in checking.

And be warned! There may be some adverse consequences to players (or teammates) when they use a weapon for which they don't meet the requirement (STR or DEX). If you thought the blunder weapon bomb misfire was bad, well let's just say you don't want to see what happens when someone wields a weapon that they can't handle.... :whistle:

Harlax wrote: You nearly got this Dwarf Fighter. I was down to 3 HP after failing a save vs acid breath. The Druid popped his last big healing spell on me. Then promptly took a face full of acid and died. Way to take one for the team.


Well, Druids are much more tasty than Dwarves!

One major goal with this Grind was to have an epic dragon fight.

I thought the first Smoak fight was anticlimactic. There was too little time, and the breath weapon was too brutal. The Dracolich fight was a bit better, but the breath weapon was either too brutal (for those unprepared) or too trivial (too much Darkrift resistance available). And the retribution damage was way too severe.

In a lot of video and computer games, boss monsters often have multiple forms. You do so much damage, and they change form. You do so much damage and then they change again. I wanted to emulate that with Ember. So you fought him normally. Then after he lost 1/3 of his HP, he would fly into the air (making melee weapons ineffective). When he lost another 1/3 of his HP, he would land and cast a Wind Wall spell (making ranged weapons ineffective, to keep things fair).

At the beginning of each of his 3 phases, Ember would use his breath weapon once. I tried to keep the damage reasonable, and only decided to hit half of the players (instead of everyone which Smoak did). Also, to keep his balanced, for the first phase, he would hit half the players. And then for the second phase, he would ideally hit the second half. And then in the final stage, he would selectively choose which people got hit again. Doing things this way let me spread out the pain, save time, and allow the breath weapon to be dangerous but not a complete game ender.

Hopefully people found Ember to be a sufficiently epic battle!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 Who's Yer Con) 7 years 3 months ago #9

Great job with the Grind this year! We lost three party members on Hardcore, so I feel like it was a success. We ran Nightmare last year and won, but lost all but one party member, and waaaaaay to many limbs. That final boss had a giant pile of HP.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 Who's Yer Con) 7 years 3 months ago #10

ian ferguson wrote: Great job with the Grind this year! We lost three party members on Hardcore, so I feel like it was a success. We ran Nightmare last year and won, but lost all but one party member, and waaaaaay to many limbs. That final boss had a giant pile of HP.


Hey, a bunny's got to eat! :P

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 Who's Yer Con) 7 years 3 months ago #11

The dragon was a great fight with some great mechanics.

I was initially bummed when it came up Black as I was prepped for red - ring of fire resistance, Ioun stone ruby rhombus. Or green with the Ioun stone iridescent sphere.

Then when we went past 300 damage and it was still standing I was feeling like I might be failing a morale check.:ohmy:

Overall I was happy to come out alive.
D&D teaches all the important lessons in life - the low blow, the cheap shot, the back stab, the double cross. - Jerry Marsischky

Let them trap us. We have our swords. - Elric of Melnibone.

You try to get them to play the game, but all they want to do is play the rules. - Ardak Kumerian

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend - Faramir

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 Who's Yer Con) 7 years 3 months ago #12

Eric, I really appreciate how much thought you put into the combats, and especially appreciate balancing the penalties for melee and ranged combat. Thanks!!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.194 seconds