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TOPIC: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon)

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 6 years 9 months ago #37

It's not that the bunny killed me last year that was so awful, it was that on the turn before he ripped my arm off. I might as well not even be a bard at that point! At least I lasted long then 8 other players, and the Pally killed it on the last shot!

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 6 years 9 months ago #38

Incognito wrote:

valetutto wrote: Ah yes I know the purple worm all too well. LOL I wanted to tell my party to focus fire on the wurm but once your inside its hard to get the words out.


I am certainly interested in your ideas to upscale it.


Somewhat simple : Projector
Include the text needed but could put in on an image of your choice.
Like a sandstorm for this year.

Might be more hassle than its worth but it could add something.
Sweet a combat room, we won't take damage!

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 6 years 9 months ago #39

Incognito wrote: (The Paladin and Ranger had 30+ AC's but most other classes had around a 20 AC).


Yeah, I was the Ranger and I'm a sucker for high AC :) That combined with the incredible Reflex saves helped me out quite a bit until the witch started destroying my armor.

I can't remember now, but were any of the attacks against me at the end melee? Because I have -1 dmg from melee attacks plus 3pts retribution damage that I wasn't applying if so...

Incognito wrote: Also, your group was one of several that had trouble with the Purple Worm. Once the Purple Worm starting swallowing people, many parties should have focused on it alone.


Yeah, I was a bit confused by this. It was my first TrueGrind and I didn't know the group that well so I thought it was supposed to be that we split up into three groups for the three monsters. Good to know we could have done otherwise.
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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 6 years 9 months ago #40

Worst thing for me about my TrueGrind preparation: I was going to wear the Amulet of Wonder so I picked out a bunch of common and uncommon tokens and put them in a coin wallet and flew them out to GenCon... and then forgot the Amulet of Wonder! :)
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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) 6 years 9 months ago #41

Kirk Bauer wrote: I can't remember now, but were any of the attacks against me at the end melee? Because I have -1 dmg from melee attacks plus 3pts retribution damage that I wasn't applying if so...


No, at the end it was mainly spell damage.

Yeah, I was a bit confused by this. It was my first TrueGrind and I didn't know the group that well so I thought it was supposed to be that we split up into three groups for the three monsters. Good to know we could have done otherwise.


It is natural to spread out your group and in many cases it is helpful. Particularly to make sure you don't completely ignore a monster.

However, some monsters (like the Purple Worm) may force you to switch up your tactics.

Kirk Bauer wrote: Worst thing for me about my TrueGrind preparation: I was going to wear the Amulet of Wonder so I picked out a bunch of common and uncommon tokens and put them in a coin wallet and flew them out to GenCon... and then forgot the Amulet of Wonder! :)


:P

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Last edit: by Incognito.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 6 years 9 months ago #42

Updated with some interesting anecdotes (on the second post which was previously a place holder).

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 6 years 9 months ago #43

Incognito wrote:
I remember this run (Saturday 10 PM). IMHO, strategy was the Achilles' Heel.


I would agree our strategy was close to non-existent. The Purple Worm was the undoing, when it became clear the Worm needed to be priority 1 (long before 5-6 of the party were inside) people still were sliding on other boards and paying no attention to the worm.

Looking at the party card, there is a heavy emphasis on + hit/damage, at the expense of AC. While that is a totally legitimate strategy, it normally needs to be backed up by plenty of healing, since with those relatively low AC's you are going to get hit a lot. (The Paladin and Ranger had 30+ AC's but most other classes had around a 20 AC). So there wasn't a sufficient healing strategy to back up the party's specific build.


I was responsible for outfitting 7 of the 10 players for this run and we actually had better gear this year than last year; when on hardcore we ran out of time against the rabbit. I thought we were okay on hardcore, because of that and my prior 2 experiences with True Grind. Not to mention the True Grind FAQ difficulty description:

Hardcore: For experienced players who want more of a challenge. Hardcore monsters are designed assuming you have access to the best Common, Uncommon, and Rare tokens. Having access to Ultra Rares will definitely give you a leg up, but will not guarantee success.

I guess it was the inexperience and lack of teamwork that did us in. 3 of my 7 had never run Grind before and that likely hurt us. In hindsight we should have run normal.

That said based on the FAQ, presumably you don't need to be purped out for hardcore. But my guess is the difficulty level description needs updating to recommend purple gear.

Of the 7 I outfitted, 3 were level 5. Everyone had +11 hit points due to Charm of Synergy and pre-filled party card. And even the those not level 5 had significant amount of Purple gear and at least all good Reds in almost every slot. I did stack +hit/damage, rather than AC. At the level of gear I have it's hard to do both. The other 3 players were lvl 5 and had gear I think was Nightmare quality. But all the gear in the world doesn't trump bad strategy I guess.

While I agree the healing strategy could have been improved overall; in my mind massive damage once in the Purple Worm was even more at fault, than healing strategy. The Monk for example was in the Purple Worm for more than 10 turns (1st one swallowed) and was taking 10 a turn; drinking a potion of Distilled Healing almost every round (8 total consumed) to try to stay alive. While the rest of the party ignored the peril. For the record we expend over 200 points of healing potions and scrolls during this run. We also used 2 Potion of Death's Door during the run. We threw all the resources we had at it and it wasn't enough.

Also, your group was one of several that had trouble with the Purple Worm. Once the Purple Worm starting swallowing people, many parties should have focused on it alone.


Yep---DEVASTATING! Again if the level difficulty description is accurate then that means a Red geared party of 4th levels with no "extra" hit points is suppose to be able to sustain 10 damage a turn from a Purple Worm digestive juices. Parties like that are not likely to live long once one or two get swallowed.

So my question is was our party the only Hardcore group that wasn't completely Purp out and level 5? If other groups ran hardcore with our level of gear and succeeded then we were really just that bad. Which is fine. Back to normal for me next year.

Despite that I still had a great time with True Grind. It's my favorite event at GENCON so I was disappointed in myself to fail so miserably. I also felt bad for Kirk and Tim's friends for letting them down. Wish I could have done better for everyone.

Again many thanks to Eric and Tim, on our run, for running a great event!

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 6 years 9 months ago #44

I don't remember the purple worm giving our group (Thursday at Noon) too much trouble on Hardcore. But I know when the doppelganger showed we left the duplicated character to fight him. I don't know if that was the correct strategy but it worked well for us. I also think only 2 of our character were swallowed and they managed to get themselves out some how (did they crit and cut a hole?). We played with just 9 and think we lost 4. It has been over a week though so maybe I don't remember it as well as I should. I know the druid and the cleric were both out of heals even with both wearing Lenses of Divine Sight. I don't think any scrolls or potions were used except by the druid turning into a Cavebear after all my spells were gone.
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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 6 years 9 months ago #45

jedibcg wrote: I don't remember the purple worm giving our group (Thursday at Noon) too much trouble on Hardcore. But I know when the doppelganger showed we left the duplicated character to fight him. I don't know if that was the correct strategy but it worked well for us. I also think only 2 of our character were swallowed and they managed to get themselves out some how (did they crit and cut a hole?). We played with just 9 and think we lost 4. It has been over a week though so maybe I don't remember it as well as I should. I know the druid and the cleric were both out of heals even with both wearing Lenses of Divine Sight. I don't think any scrolls or potions were used except by the druid turning into a Cavebear after all my spells were gone.


This is about right. We only had some issues in room two due to my horrible sliding on my table, lol. I feel letting the 'doppleganged' character fight himself was the best idea.To the best of my knowledge they did run dry on healing spells, but it kept more than half the party alive.

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 6 years 9 months ago #46

David Harris wrote: I would agree our strategy was close to non-existent. The Purple Worm was the undoing, when it became clear the Worm needed to be priority 1 (long before 5-6 of the party were inside) people still were sliding on other boards and paying no attention to the worm.


In True Grind, while tokens certainly help, teamwork and strategy are just as important if not more so. Simply having good tokens doesn't guarantee a win if the other elements are not in place.

Yeah, the Purple Worm was a good example of where teamwork was really needed. Previously I mentioned how some groups even had players dive into the Purple Worm on purpose to help keep people alive.

On the last Sunday run, there was even one player (Kent) who was keeping track of every player who took damage. That's the type of thing that can help players from accidentally getting killed because they didn't get healed when they could have been.

I was responsible for outfitting 7 of the 10 players for this run and we actually had better gear this year than last year; when on hardcore we ran out of time against the rabbit.


Due to the change to the 1.5 hour format, a lot of groups which previously would have run out of time, instead got TPK'ed this year.

This year there was also one Hardcore group that ran out of time, but only had 2 players left. If they had another 5 minutes, it would probably have resulted in a TPK as well.

I thought we were okay on hardcore, because of that and my prior 2 experiences with True Grind. Not to mention the True Grind FAQ difficulty description:

Hardcore: For experienced players who want more of a challenge. Hardcore monsters are designed assuming you have access to the best Common, Uncommon, and Rare tokens. Having access to Ultra Rares will definitely give you a leg up, but will not guarantee success.


Yeah the description is a bit tricky (maybe I should look into rewording it for next year).

The design process does presuppose that players (of that difficulty level) have access to ANY tokens that are Common/Uncommon/Rare, regardless of year. So for example, that would include 2008 Faceted Ambers, 2009 Torcs of Natural Armor, and in theory 2009 Violet Prisms (though I don't normally expect players to use Violet Prisms in Grind).

There are going to be a large chunk of redded players who don't have access to the very best Reds. So in some cases, maybe a Purple armor can help compensate for the lack of a Torc of Natural Armor, etc.

Since UR's vary widely in power, the specific UR's involved is often more relevant than how many. Lots of the UR weapons or armor may simply be a +1 difference compared to the Rare versions, while other UR's (like Cloak of Shadowskin) have a much more powerful effect.

I guess it was the inexperience and lack of teamwork that did us in. 3 of my 7 had never run Grind before and that likely hurt us. In hindsight we should have run normal.

That said based on the FAQ, presumably you don't need to be purped out for hardcore. But my guess is the difficulty level description needs updating to recommend purple gear.


You shouldn't *need* Purple gear for Hardcore but it certainly doesn't hurt. That being said, balancing the monsters is always more of an art than a science, and there is certainly the possibility that the monsters ended up a bit tougher than I was originally expecting. I try to keep the relatively difficulty consistent from year to year but it is always hard due to steady power creep.

Of the 7 I outfitted, 3 were level 5. Everyone had +11 hit points due to Charm of Synergy and pre-filled party card. And even the those not level 5 had significant amount of Purple gear and at least all good Reds in almost every slot. I did stack +hit/damage, rather than AC. At the level of gear I have it's hard to do both. The other 3 players were lvl 5 and had gear I think was Nightmare quality.


David, why don't you send me a list of your equipment list so I can take a look at it? (In the meantime I will try to dig through the submitted equipment lists to see if yours is in it).

But all the gear in the world doesn't trump bad strategy I guess.


Very true words!

While I agree the healing strategy could have been improved overall; in my mind massive damage once in the Purple Worm was even more at fault, than healing strategy. The Monk for example was in the Purple Worm for more than 10 turns (1st one swallowed) and was taking 10 a turn; drinking a potion of Distilled Healing almost every round (8 total consumed) to try to stay alive. While the rest of the party ignored the peril. For the record we expend over 200 points of healing potions and scrolls during this run. We also used 2 Potion of Death's Door during the run. We threw all the resources we had at it and it wasn't enough.


Once the Monk and the rest of the party realized how the Swallowing mechanic work, there were a few possible strategies:

1. Focus on killing the Purple Worm ASAP

2. Those swallowed could also try to keep healing but it would be like going against the grain. This might buy them a few rounds, but the Purple Worm would still need to be killed relatively soon. I recall this worked for Dis Bee Leaf's son b/c his team started focusing on the worm.

3. Conserve healing. If it looked like the Purple Worm would not get killed before a character (the Monk) would get dissolved, I would actually say the better option would have been for the Monk to not spend his healing, and just hope for a Death's Door after the Purple Worm was dead and to save all the healing till then. I think this is one of those cases where the amount of healing expended isn't as important as how and when it is expended.

Yep---DEVASTATING! Again if the level difficulty description is accurate then that means a Red geared party of 4th levels with no "extra" hit points is suppose to be able to sustain 10 damage a turn from a Purple Worm digestive juices. Parties like that are not likely to live long once one or two get swallowed.


Well, the (incorrect apparently) expectation was that parties would focus their efforts on the head of the worm.

Or that one or two of the players would be "acceptable losses."

Remember that every Hardcore group except one had at least some casualties. And so some groups might have sacrificed one of their party members to the worm so that they rest could survive!

So my question is was our party the only Hardcore group that wasn't completely Purp out and level 5? If other groups ran hardcore with our level of gear and succeeded then we were really just that bad. Which is fine. Back to normal for me next year.


Raven and Brad did most of the player coaching so they could say better what the Red/Purple ratio was like for Hardcore.

Based on the party cards and equipment lists I saw, it seemed like there were plenty of Hardcore groups that were not significantly Purped out.

Of course there is always an element of luck. A few bad rolls at the wrong times can make a big difference.

Despite that I still had a great time with True Grind. It's my favorite event at GENCON so I was disappointed in myself to fail so miserably. I also felt bad for Kirk and Tim's friends for letting them down. Wish I could have done better for everyone.


Don't feel bad! I'm certain that Nightmare group which got TPK'ed didn't really feel that bad either!

Once again it is a teamwork thing so no one person is responsible.

At the end of the day, the key thing about Grind is having fun (regardless of whether you lived or died)! :)

Again many thanks to Eric and Tim, on our run, for running a great event!


My pleasure! Till next year!

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Last edit: by Incognito.

Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 6 years 9 months ago #47

jedibcg wrote: I don't remember the purple worm giving our group (Thursday at Noon) too much trouble on Hardcore. But I know when the doppelganger showed we left the duplicated character to fight him. I don't know if that was the correct strategy but it worked well for us. I also think only 2 of our character were swallowed and they managed to get themselves out some how (did they crit and cut a hole?). We played with just 9 and think we lost 4. It has been over a week though so maybe I don't remember it as well as I should. I know the druid and the cleric were both out of heals even with both wearing Lenses of Divine Sight. I don't think any scrolls or potions were used except by the druid turning into a Cavebear after all my spells were gone.

balthasar wrote: This is about right. We only had some issues in room two due to my horrible sliding on my table, lol. I feel letting the 'doppleganged' character fight himself was the best idea.To the best of my knowledge they did run dry on healing spells, but it kept more than half the party alive.


There was no "right" or "wrong" way in dealing with the Doppelganger.

The Doppelganger was designed to be stronger than a single player but much weaker than the average monster.

One-on-one it would be a tough fight but winnable since the silhouette had large areas to hit. But if the Doppelganger did win, then it would presumably be weakened enough that the second player who was copied could dispatch it more easily.

Actually, the most effective way to kill it would be for the Paladin to Detect Evil. That would allow all the players to attack the Doppelganger for one round, and one or two rounds of coordinated attacks should probably have been enough to kill it.

If the Bard used Monster Lore on the Doppelganger, he would realize that it was Evil.

(Yeah in D&D Doppelgangers are usually Neutral, but for balance purposes we made it Evil for the Grind).

You will have to ask Raven and Brad as to how often parties used Detect Evil and/or Monster Lore on the Doppelganger.

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Re: True Grind Post-Mortem (2014 GenCon) 6 years 9 months ago #48

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Oh, Eric! How could you forge the epic Team Yeti run Thursday night (10pm)? We ran hardcore and fought our way to the oasis with time remaining; no casualties. Was it our double- Mad Evoker maelstrom, or our catchy tune on the Horns of Blasting that made you want to forget us?
You still got hit points! Get back in there and fight!!

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