I have bene running DND Encounters: Dark Sun this past few weeks each monday night at Phoenix Games Orlando as the store owner / manager Jeff asked me to. Its been pretty fun for the most part, but I have noticed something.
After 2 weeks of running it (At 2 encounters a night) I have determined that the world of Dark Sun is TEH DEVILS. I bet you are wondering why right? If you have not tried the Encounters: Dark Sun I advise against it. Unless you are REALLY experienced.
The encounters are rough. I guess they were originally designed to showcase how brutal and nightmarish the world of Athas is…but damn me if they are not fun. My group that is playing has had more near death experiences then I really care to think about, and fail more rolls to do things such as climbing up cliffs then I want to discuss.
In the first encounter you have a storm that does 5 damage every round you are in it. Both to enemies and players. However, the players had such a hard time hitting and killing the enemies that they took massive damage from said storm and it actually got the point where another enemy spawned on the map.
Encounter 2 was poorly written. The stat blocks indiciated 2 of one monster, and 3 of another. The map indicated the opposite however. The 2 big bugs also were horrific creatures.
Encounter 3? Flying goblins on top of twenty foot tall bluffs? I made them make DC15 climb checks to get up the bluffs and they failed for a literal hour and a half. I had to remove an archer to make the fight easier as we only had 4 people, and I also had to keep the goblin cursespewers from using their trigger to cause poison explosions if they were hit. It was nuts. You could blame it on poor die rolls but seriously.
Oh and if the players got on top of the bluffs? 5 damage every turn due to WEEDS.
Encounter 4 went a bit better, but was still rough as hell. Kept knocking everyone down and in this fight I could have killed at least 2 if not more of the players had I used all the encounter powers available. Once again, had to hold back.
So tonight is the big bad of Chapter 1.
And I am not holding back. Tonight, if the players die they die. I cannot keep holding everything back, especially on a boss fight.
Now let me explain why I am SURE someone is going to die tonight.
The final encounter involves 2-3 lizard people and an ANKEHG. Now the Ankehg is basically a giant lion anteater, that lives in the sand. The problem here is that it will attack anything, so at the beginning of each round the 2 groups make a “Nature Check”.
The best bonus in the party? +3 I believe, maybe +4.
The lizards? +9
Whoever wins controls the Ankehg for that round. So that means that unless the party gets lucky they are going to be fighting a really bad fight.
Even AFTER they kill the Lizards, at that point the Ankehg goes for them, and then they are left fighting that thing. Its not going to be pretty.