The Heart of Evil – Follow up
Posted by docryder
So, last night the Heart of Evil model got used. I also found an Earth Elemental that was perfect for Timesus, the Black Star (an undead earth primordial). Here’s some pics from late in the game, just before the primordial was destroyed a second time.
Thanks to Robin Small for the pictures.
The large lion figure is our druid, predator build. And that archer should be facing Timesus, as he delivered the killing blow, as usual. Not sure why the spear-weilding figure is on the board, as that’s the druid’s human form. The winged figure is the Girl’s eladrin fighter, but she was in a major Tinkerbelle phase, and wanted wings on her figure (and the 4e pixie rules hadn’t been published at the time we created the character). The map is on Gaming Paper.
I think the model worked out very well. The players seemed pleased, and I know I was. At least, I was pleased with how the model turned out. However, it was about 10AM yesterday morning when I thought about how I should have added a face looking out Phantom Zone-style on the top, as the crystal in my setting is the prison of Tharzidun. Left me mildly unhappy, but I got over it. 🙂
We had issues, and it breeds from two things: Young, easily bored children; and a slow, boggy combat system.
This weekend really set me in bad mood towards 4e. Combat hasn’t been fast since the start of 3.0, but I know 4e has been slower from the start. Higher levels doesn’t make it any better. More options, more dice rolled, more hit points; none of these things make for faster play (although the environment of the Extraction Level encounter from E3: Prince of the Undead, which is the map above, nearly did in one of my PCs). It’s not that the combat went lots of rounds; we only played most of five rounds. It’s not that the combat ran late, as some have; we finished the battle by 10:45PM. It’s just that each round took about 30 minutes.
I mentioned to my players that I had watched The Strange RPG Inaugural Game video, and in an hour and a half, they managed two combats and a decent amount of roleplay. The kids prefer combat, as it seems more exciting to them (and they get to be badasses, not relatively powerless children), so the game has moved more towards combat. And I don’t mind running a combat every session. But having to scream at kids to pay attention rather than play video games between rounds is proving to be a hassle, and resulted in poor behavior on the adults’ parts as well. It’s all reaffirmed my belief that I won’t run 4e for my next game. Some part of me is tempted to look into the 5e playtest material, and see how combat works, but the way things have been handled have left a bad taste in my mouth for it.
On the other hand, I got a pretty sizable paycheck for working nearly a full week before Thanksgiving, so I splurged a little and picked up the FATE System Toolkit book. I looked especially at the magic systems and came to the conclusion that building the StarSea with that system would be pretty easy, as it’s intended to be an easily extensible game. I still have my concerns about the kids being able to create Aspects that will actually work for it. I would expect character creation will be quite time consuming, should I use FATE, with much of that time being spent in negotiations.
I also got out my copy of Grant Morrison’s 18 Days, with art by Mukesh Singh. It’s an art book that is filled with storyboarding for an animated series Morrison wants to do of the Indian myth-cycle called the Mahabharata. One of the elements of the artwork is that the gods carry technological versions of ancient weapons, as well as techno-chariots and so on. If you get a chance to look at it (I don’t think it had a really large print run), I do recommend it. But I wanted to give the art a look again, just to see if any new ideas spark, or maybe something to refine an existing idea might jump out at me.
Anyway, it’s getting late, and I need to hit the ground running tomorrow. Not for work, but I need an oil change in the car, to take my mother out for some shopping, and some other tasks before we go off to finalize my father’s estate and bring probate to a close.