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TOPIC: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon)

True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 4 years 10 months ago #1

Just getting some data out there. Will come back and pretty up this post later.

For reference, the 2013 GenCon Grind Post-Mortem can be found here:

truedungeon.com/forum?func=view&catid=556&id=189266

And the 2014 Who's Yer Con Grind Post-Mortem is here:

truedungeon.com/forum?func=view&catid=556&id=189171


This year, with the shift to 1.5 hour centers, we only had 19 True Grind events. 5 were on Thursday (3 afternoon / 2 evening), 6 on Friday (3 afternoon / 3 evening), 6 on Saturday (3 afternoon / 3 evening), and 2 on Sunday.

There was one less Thursday evening run because this was scheduled months ago when the GT run was originally planned for Thursday evening and I wanted to avoid space conflicts (and conflicts for my assistant DM's).

Two of the Grind slots were chosen via the Lottery so they might not have appeared in the online Event search database.

Of the 190 potential Grind slots, we had 180 players and 181 tickets turned in, for 94.74% player attendance and 95.26% ticket collection. This is consistent with last year's 94% and 96%.

Friday afternoon had a noticeable number of no-shows, with 3 empty slots for the Noon run and 5 empty slots for the 1:30 PM run.

Of the 19 Grind runs, 8 were Normal (42%), 10 were Hardcore (53%), and 1 was Nightmare (5%). Many of the groups with less than 10 players opted to go with Normal.

Of the 7 "representative" Normal runs, all of the groups were victorious and most of the players survived (98%) with only a single player death. Henwy is no longer alone in the "died in Normal Grind" category!

There was also one "non-representative" Normal run which was full of experienced TD'ers who were mainly interested in having fun. When faced with a doppelganger double, their strategy was to "make sure" by killing both. They ended up killing 5 of their own, whereupon another character committed suicide out of despair. So there were only 3 "survivors" amongst their group of 9.

Of the 10 Hardcore runs, 8 groups (80%) were victorious, 1 group (10%) ran out of time, and 1 group (10%) was wiped out with a TPK. For individual players, the survival rate was 58%, the out of time category had 2%, and the death rate was 40%.

Although many players felt that this year's Grind was much harder than last year's, the Hardcore survival rate is actually comparable (58% vs 62%). Last year had 13% out of time and 26% death rate (for 39% total) so it seems like the change to 1.5 hours mainly converted a portion of players who previously ran out of time into formal deaths.

The singular Nightmare group faced a tragic (but spectacular) end with a TPK and all characters dead. This was more consistent with the 2012 Nightmare statistics.


Looking at how often classes were chosen (180 players for 19 runs) we have:

Paladin (20)
Barbarian (18)
Cleric (18)
Dwarf Fighter (18)
Bard (16)
Druid (16)
Fighter (16)
Monk (14)
Ranger (14)
Rogue (12)
Elf Wizard (9)
Wizard (9)

Yes, there were 20 Paladins for 19 runs. One run had a father and two little kids as a last minute add on. I just ended up handling them on the third combat board.

The Paladin was present in every single Grind (last year that honor went to the Barbarian). Both of the Wizards were the least popular (same as last year).

Regarding Survival rates we have:

Dwarf Fighter (83%)
Fighter (81%)
Ranger (79%)
Druid (75%)
Barbarian (67%)
Cleric (67%)
Elf Wizard (67%)
Paladin (65%)
Monk (64%)
Bard (56%)
Wizard (44%)
Rogue (42%)

Last year had the human Wizard out-surviving the Elf Wizard but this year was the opposite.

I don't recall exactly how many prestige classes were played but it was around 10 total throughout the Con.


Encounter List

Room #1:

1. Manscorpion
2. Thri-Kreen (insect humanoid)
3. Desert Troll

Room #2:

4. Umber Hulk rider
5. Bulette mount
6. Ankheg

Room #3:

7. Purple Worm Head
8. Purple Worm Tail
9. Fire Eel

Room #4:

10. Illusionary Warrior
11. Rust Monster wearing a Wizard costume
12. Doppelganger

Room #5:

13. Rakshasa x 3 (two of which were illusions)



* Originally Room 4 was supposed to be a Medusa and a Mummy with the Doppelganger. And Room 5 would have the Rakshasa, Rust Monster, and an Efreeti. However, during the first run I quickly realized we wouldn't have enough time for them all so I cut the Medusa and Mummy (though I did use them instead of the Purple Worm in one early run where several of the players had just gone through with the standard lineup). Also, due to a Canadian airline misplacing luggage, we didn't have some props we were planning to use with the Efreeti so we dropped him.


The sun exposure / fatigue damage actually occurred at the beginning of the adventure (during the prologue). Every group ended up healing all of the damage. The sun exposure was a red herring because, as the module description mentioned, the adventure took place AT NIGHT.

The REAL environment rules was the use of 2012 COLD CLIMATE. Let's just say that it was not uncommon for players to have a negative initiative total and there were lots of dropped fingers and numb fingers!

There were also some rotating sandstorm / desert effects that were mainly there so that some of the desert-themed tokens would have a use:

Room #1: Obscured vision made it impossible to target monsters with ranged weapons or sliding spells unless you had something like Sandstorm Goggles or Goggles of Seeing

Room #2: Obscured vision (as above) AND shifting sands (from the burrowing creatures) that could cause you to trip and fall (losing a turn).

Room #3: Shifting sands (as above) AND high winds (ranged weapons and sliding spells missed on an odd slide, without a True Flight effect).

Room #4: High winds (as above) AND minor sandstorm damage (Sandstorm Cloak and Barbarian DR protect)

Room #5: High Winds (as above) AND sandstorm damage (as above) occurs more often

The sandstorm effects on missile weapons is mainly there for balance since Cold Climate affected melee weapons.


For those who want to learn more about the magnificence of the "Umber Bulette," or who want to see the amazing (yet somehow disturbing) images that the adventurers encountered, you can find them here:

Ecology of an Icon: The Ultimate Team
www.critical-hits.com/blog/2010/02/12/ecology-of-an-icon-the-ultimate-team/

The new age has begun…
www.critical-hits.com/blog/2008/06/07/the-new-age-has-begun/

Umber Hulk (with a different sort of mounting)
www.gamerjargon.net/dictionary/umber-hulk/

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Last edit: by Incognito.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 4 years 10 months ago #2

Notable incidents:

- There was only one party brave enough to try Nightmare, which was the Thursday 3 PM group. Despite a valiant effort, they did end up with a TPK. There were other parties which had been considering Nightmare, but they backed off when they heard horror stories from a Hardcore survivor or when some party members didn't show (meaning they were at less than 10 players).

- Although the Purple Worm's Swallow attack was pretty nasty, there were at least two players who decided to jump into the mouth of the worm so that they could heal (and save) fellow party members. I believe Candace (Templar) did one time. Another time, Dis Bee Leaf (Druid) briefly pondered jumping in to help save his son (the Bard) but declined, but I think the Cleric in that run did decide to jump in.

- The Friday 1:30 PM group had a fun ricochet incident. When one of their spellcasters used a powerful spell on the illusionary warrior, it was redirected to their Paladin (or Dwarf) who still had an unused redirect from an Eldritch Runestone. He then redirected it to the doubled (Doppelganger) player. At that point there was a 50/50 chance of hitting the actual player or the doppelganger but fortunately he rolled high and killed the doppelganger, but it was a close call for the copied player.

- The Friday 3 PM group was the only one to survive Hardcore difficulty this year with no casualties. They did have an extremely clumsy Barbarian and Dwarf Fighter. The burrowing monsters consistently popped up near them, forcing them to make Reflex saves. After 4 consecutive missed Reflex saves, which pretty much had the Barbarian and Dwarf crashing into each other, they finally decided to ready/brace themselves during the off round to stabilize themselves. That helped them break the cycle of tripping and falling.

- Most Hardcore groups were victorious (usually with some casualties) but there was one group which ran out of time (Friday 7 PM) and one TPK (Saturday 10 PM) which was mainly due to non-ideal strategies and builds.

- The Saturday 7 PM run was Normal difficulty but things went awry due to a Doppelganger infiltration. After the Bard killed the Monk (thinking it was the Doppelganger), the Doppelganger joined the final battle against the Rakshasa, subtly sabotaging their efforts. Despite that, the party was victorious. After camping for the night, the party members awoke to a horrid scream. The Doppelganger had murdered the Bard in his sleep with a natural 20. Even with an unused Cloak of Shadowskin, it wasn't enough to protect against the Doppelganger Monk's doublefisted attack. The Doppelganger then copied the Cleric, but the rest of the party member's decided to attack both, just in case. One player slid a critical 20 and ended up decapitating the real Cleric, whereupon the Doppelganger became the Paladin. Like the round before, another player slid a critical 20 and decapitated the real Paladin. The doppelganger then copied the Rogue. At that point, the rest of the party managed to kill both the real Rogue and the doppelganger. Upon surveying the dead party members and realizing his own hand in the tragedy, the Fighter decided to commit suicide, leaving only 3 party members to continue on to the snake temple.

- The Sunday 10:30 AM party had several occasions when a Hat of Escape or Ring of Sanctuary became a detriment to the rest of the party. There were many times when a player (such as a Rogue) was attacked but due to such a token, the attack was redirected to a player who was already weakened. In one case it actually led to another player's (temporary) death. So while these tokens do have valuable uses, bear in mind that drawbacks, especially for other members of the party....

Added 08/24/2014:

- One thing I enjoyed about Grind was making a lot of "generally useless" tokens actually helpful. For example, due to the environmental rules, Sandstorm Goggles, Sandstorm Cloaks, and Shoes of Sand Walking were actually useful! There was one time when a player's Spectre's Spectacles saved down from the Umber Hulk's gaze. And there was a single Elven Illusionist who used his Gaze Reflection spell for protection. The Sunday 9 AM run had some "survivors" from a prior, harrowing expedition and apparently got a bunch of them to wear Rings of Direction to protect them from Confusion. Never thought those Rings of Direction would be useful, eh? B)

- There was also a Team Bulette who were tickled pink to see their Bulette mascot/opponent. There have also been mentions of the Sharknado run, where a Druid with Wild Vestments + Iridescent Spindle used Leaping Attack Potions along with a Polymorph Shark potion to go toe-to-toe against the Bulette. Technically this doesn't work in TD but Grind is a bit more flexible so I just decided to roll with it.

- Another interesting situation was a run where the Bard died. It turns out that several members of the team could speak with dead (presumably with a Shade Cloak) and asked if they could still benefit from Bardsong. Although I'm pretty sure it doesn't work officially (a ruling would be nice), I thought I'd allow it since it was such a creative idea. Unfortunately, giving the dead Bard a +3 Rod of Niltongue might make it a little too easy so I doubt the official ruling will allow it.

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Last edit: by Incognito.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 4 years 10 months ago #3

Great job Incognito and Raven, had a lot of fun on our Sunday run, even two people down. We went normal and managed to lose no one, but boy was it close. Most of us walked out in single digit HP. Shadowskin cloak is worth it's weight in gold! Thank you guys for running an always super complicated and challenging set up!

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 4 years 10 months ago #4

Team Synergy had a great time. I don't know if I'd call our TPK in the lone Nightmare run spectacular--but it was heroic at the very least. I'm surprised that ours was the only run on Nightmare--although the unanimous sentiment at the end was, "yeah, not gonna try that again!" :)

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 4 years 10 months ago #5

Just to be clear, was Incognito the DM for the True Dungeon runs (Eric, right)?
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We buy, sell, and trade True Dungeon tokens. We also have a convenient consignment program where you can sell your own tokens.

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 4 years 10 months ago #6

Kirk Bauer wrote: Just to be clear, was Incognito the DM for the True Dungeon runs (Eric, right)?


Yes, that is me!

Or is it?

Could it be my doppelganger? Or maybe just an illusion? :evil:

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 4 years 10 months ago #7

Incognito wrote:

Kirk Bauer wrote: Just to be clear, was Incognito the DM for the True Dungeon runs (Eric, right)?


Yes, that is me!

Or is it?

Could it be my doppelganger? Or maybe just an illusion? :evil:


Well, thank you! It was my first TrueGrind (I'm the Ranger that die last in the TPK on Saturday night) and it was the best event of the con for me. I'll certainly be trying to get into one next year.

I'm tempted to do more than one TrueGrind next year, does anybody do that?
My online token shop: www.tdtavern.com (5% discount code: TDFORUM)

We buy, sell, and trade True Dungeon tokens. We also have a convenient consignment program where you can sell your own tokens.

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 4 years 10 months ago #8

Kirk Bauer wrote: Well, thank you! It was my first TrueGrind (I'm the Ranger that die last in the TPK on Saturday night) and it was the best event of the con for me. I'll certainly be trying to get into one next year.


Yes, I remember you. It was my pleasure.

I'm tempted to do more than one TrueGrind next year, does anybody do that?


Several people do.

If you ever decide to try Nightmare, I would recommend going through on Hardcore first (just to get a feel for the adventure first).

The main challenge is acquiring the multiple tickets. Since Grind sells out so fast, it is hard getting one (let alone multiple) tickets!

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 4 years 10 months ago #9

I got into two groups after they sold out. I am pretty sure one person bought at least 3 complete runs, or at least partials.

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 4 years 10 months ago #10

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Don't let the Sand Cops get you! Next year I'll remember my airship license.
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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 4 years 10 months ago #11

Incognito wrote: Of the 7 "representative" Normal runs, all of the groups were victorious and most of the players survived (98%) with only a single player death. Henwy is no longer alone in the "died in Normal Grind" category!


Out of curiosity was that when the sand troll tore me in half for burning off its dusty bits with holy water or did someone else decide to "cover two tables" and not manage to death die themselves back together?
Semper Gumby, Always flexible.

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 4 years 10 months ago #12

So this was my first year in the grind and I LOVED it! Successfully blasted my way through the fights and only ran out in the final set of enemies, first time ever using ALL of my spells from the Elf Wizard.

Definitely on my list for next year!

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