“Unfortunately, it seems this is the moment where our paths are going to diverge…”


 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Favric and friends
  • Guys?? Guys!! Hey! Hey guys!!!
  • Intermediate Combat Tactics
  • Attack of opportunity: Coffee Hole Farm

Photo showing the cast of Lobster Role

Image of episode 18 battlefield

Episode 18: Crossing Paths with Favric


WHERE WE LEFT OFF

We left off with a camp meeting led by Sildar where the residents of Phandalin decided to strike out at the redcloaks’ base of operations on Coffee Hole Farm. The party arrived shortly after an encounter with a band of masked cultists led by an eccentric elf named Favric. With a couple of days to tend to their wounds and prepare for the assault, the party will begin the next session fully rested at level 4.

 

RECAP

After returning from the events at the windmill, Little Pocket spotted several cloaked, masked figures huddled near patches of upturned earth about a mile ahead along the path. The heroes advanced on the group and Little gleaned as much information as she could from their leader Favric who was enthusiastic to share his vision of elven superiority and an imminent golden age. Just after the sun descended below the horizon, Favric smiled suspiciously and everyone’s hands went to their weapons. Tibboh leapt into action with a cry of “we’re heroes!” empowering himself and Hag. The big guy, with Tibboh having heroically taken cover behind him, proceeded to leap up and away onto the nearest 10′ tall rock, calling on the team to take defensive action as he cried “lightning!” and blinded three of the elves with his gem. Unable to do anything in their condition, Favric cast invisibility on himself and the elves scattered and ran. The next twelve seconds descended into chaos as Enya, immediately upon excavating a section of earth the size of an oxcart and throwing it forward toward the elves as a barricade, fell beneath a ferocious swarm of daggers and slingstones. Little Pocket leapt to her aid, putting her body between Enya and the attackers before blasting all nearby kobolds with a wave of thunderous force, splitting two of their skulls against the rocks. Exhausted, she had to gather her energy for a full round before she could attempt to heal the fallen cleric. Tibboh and Hag made quick work of four remaining kobolds while Little Pocket healed a faltering Enya just as she took a turn for the worse. Enya snapped awake and instinctively leapt into position, loosing an arrow that dropped the final flying kobold at Hag’s feet.

Sildar kept a hand on Enya’s back much of the last hour to Phandalin, and the wolf you know to be Sister Garaele stayed close by her side as well. Tibboh had the pleasure of meeting Carp, the teenaged hobbit who often keeps watch over the entrance to the camp from the trail above, and then the rest of the growing community. After exchanging warm greetings and talking about the events of the past few days, Sildar called everyone around the fire to share news of the events unfolding across the island. Leaders of rebel groups from near and far met and decided to call for every individual group to identify a local target of opportunity and strike as soon as possible. After some discussion, including Little Pocket noting that Thundertree deserves attention soon, the community decided to follow the dwarven leader Helja’s request that they return to permanently drive out the redcloaks from her property at Coffee Hole Farm.

 

MASTERING THE GAME: TACTICS

There are so many ways this party works well together as a team. As a result, when we have a combat where our cleric hits the ground, or where any player gets within a single failed death saving throw of permanent death, we should take some time to analyze what went wrong and how we can best prevent it happening again. Part of the answer will be bad luck (a critical hit), and part will be imperfect information (what’s in those holes, anyway?), but part of it is always within our control. While I want to discourage people against telling others what they should have done, I do think it’s helpful to pose the question to ourselves: “What could my character have done differently to prevent my comrade from falling?” Think both about the decisions you made before and after she was first knocked unconscious and see if you can come up with a plan for how to improve the next time you find yourself in this situation. You can trust that the kobolds, gibbering mouthers, and hobgoblins of this world are going to do their best to keep knocking you all unconscious. What will you do when they knock out not just one but two of you? What can you do to prevent that ever happening? These aren’t easy questions and sometimes there simply won’t be a good answer, but it gives us something specific to think about as we continue to improve our tactics in combat.

On that note, I’d like to share with you a few resources for improving your individual and team combat tactics. I recommend you all check out Combat Tactics 101 for ideas, many of which you will see you have already learned. If you find that video a little too advanced at this point, you’ll certainly benefit from this refresher lesson on Actions in Combat. If you think you’re ready from some more advanced tips and tricks, buckle up and get ready for Pro Combat Tips.

 

FROM TACTICS TO STRATEGY: PLANNING THE ATTACK

Tactics are the actions we take to succeed given the terms of a certain combat encounter. Strategy is how we plan and coordinate our tactics in a way that can alter the terms and tilt the odds in our favor. As you plot your attack on Coffee Hole Farm, think about what you know about the types of enemies you expect to face, the terrain in which you expect to face them, and the resources you have at your disposal to help assure your success. Under what conditions will you continue to advance? Under what conditions might you retreat? What is your objective? How will you know when you’ve achieved it? There are many valid approaches to strategy, but these are some of the kinds of things to consider as you prepare.

But you don’t need ideas from me. You keep coming up with heroic, creative, fun solutions to the problems I throw in front of you every week. I’m excited to see how this all unfolds. Let me know if you have any questions, including questions about advancing to level 4, and as always feel free to conspire among yourselves far from my prying eyes.

Be heroic,
Be creative,
Have fun together,
Isaac

 

See also: Enya’s Diary #18

See also: Enya’s Letters #18

See also: Tibboh’s Diary #18

 

 

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