A bold band of heroes journeyed into the dreaded jungles of Thresh to discover what perils lurked therein and to fight them back past the borders of civilization. A clearing in the jungle where a waterfall emptied into a pool with a natural arch above it marked the location of the encounter. Something foul and atavistic made its home in the rocky walls of the waterfall — the debased descendents of men who once ruled an empire that spanned all of Thresh.
The six heroes closed ranks as the menace advanced upon them. One of the creatures, emerging from the jungle behind them, charged and struck true, injuring the cleric and bard who had been holding the back of the line. Another dashed out of a copse of dense jungle undergrowth while another pair stormed across the natural arch. A third pair descended from the top of the waterfall, and these seemed to be some sort of sorcerers of their ilk, as they moved by teleportation.
As the party engaged each pair of the reptilian subhumans, the sorcerers teleported down the side of the waterfall, dazzling the heroes with some sort of invasive mental manipulations. The sorcerers proved too slow, however, and by the time they made it down the waterfall, the heroes had already put most of the savage, four-armed shock troops to the sword…
…When some sort of bizarre, tentacle, crocodilian horror dragged itself out of the murk of the pool at the waterfall’s base. It focused its attention on the paladin, who kept it enthralled via divine challenge, while the party focused their attacks on it. They managed to defeat it before it pulled the paladin into the mire, but only just, and a single turn spelled the difference between victory and a watery death for the paladin.
With the crocodile-beast dispatched and the reptile-men screaming in cold-blooded hell, the sorcerers were no match for the battle-hardened warriors. In tandem, they would have been dangerous, but the efficient combatants in the group dismantled the jungle threat piece by piece and emerged victorious.
Notable Positive Experiences: Group dynamics continue to be the single greatest facet of 4e. When a party puts its abilities together to take on foes, they’re a powerhouse. When someone breaks ranks and charges in recklessly, he fares less well. I really like this, as it keeps the group working toward a common goal instead of ambling off on their own doomed solo jaunts during which I feel bad about killing them for their own mistakes.
Notable Negative Experiences: 4e usually runs quickly. Not so this time. Part of the problem was group size, as we had six players, and part of the problem was that not all of the players had their actions cards preformatted, meaning that some of them had to rifle through the books to figure out what they wanted to do. Normally, you’d say “figure out what you’re going to do in the downtime between your turns,” but 4e is so tactical that the best thing to do might literally change with the action of the person before you. While it was still exceedingly easy to run and adjudicate, it just took longer than we had set aside as our time box.