How to kill a 1st level character

You may also like...

16 Responses

  1. EltonJ says:

    Way 3:

    Use Arms Law from Rolemaster Fame.
    .-= EltonJ´s last blog ..What the Hey? =-.

  2. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve seen, and been many a dead 1st level PCs in 4e.

    4e pcs being unkillable is definitely a myth
    .-= Mike(aka kaeosdad)´s last blog ..The Hybrid Universe is now a part of the RPG Bloggers Network =-.

  3. wickedmurph says:

    I use “sandbox” encounters, which include waves of enemies in an area, who all respond to player actions. That way, I frequently have 4 or 5 encounters worth of monsters all engaging the PC’s, often without them being able to take breaks. To make it even more exciting, they often have a timed objective as well – rescue the prisoners, save the village, that sort of thing.

    I’ve never seen a party pick up their game as fast as these guys did, and most are new to 4e (although not to RPG’s – they’re my 20-year gaming group). Cranking up the challenge is a damn good way to get players to really work together.

  4. Elda King says:

    Another damn good way is giving the monsters a very random damage. Once I changed the damage of a monster (a brute) from 1d10+3 (average 8,5) to 2d8 (average 9) and reduced its bonus to hit. Balanced, I thought.
    Until it scored a critical hit against the Warlord in the first round of combat, just after it was hit by a trap – taking it down to 0 on the first round (surprise round, actually). The party not only was deprived of most of the healing, but needed to heal the warlord as well.

    And, about the Wizard, it may have a lot of hit points – but it’s the Warlock the HP devil. Using Con to make attacks means he’ll likely have a constitution score unmatched.

  5. deadmeat says:

    As a player (so far lvl 4) I’ve never felt the constraints of healing surges. I mean, in a single encounter as a group we can’t spend more that 2 healing words + everyone’s Second wind and even my lousy rogue has more that 3 surges. And we take an extended rest after almost any fight to replenish other daily powers that are essential to our survival. Essential as in “if we do not take extended rest our fighter can no longer take 110+ points of damage but only ~80”. And when the fighter goes down, it better be over in 2 rounds, or it will be over for ever.

  6. deadmeat says:

    And about those rats – I had that happen to me. 3 rounds inside rats while laying prone because of goblins with crossbows also shooting at me. Did it almost kill me? Sure thing. Was it fun? As fun as I-think-I-will-die-so-I-will-just-attack-something-not-that-my-actions-make-any-difference-now. If you want that for your players, go ahead.

  7. Neuroglyph says:

    I have to agree with several of the posters – 1st level PCs feel almost as fragile to me in 4e as they did in previous versions – they just take a couple extra attacks before going down in a bloody heap.

    Unless you throw only minions at your 1st level heroes, every monster out there is at least as tough and nasty as they are. Almost every combat I ran in my two 4e campaigns ended with 1-2 PCs making death saves by the end, and everyone bloodied.
    .-= Neuroglyph´s last blog ..Review – The Plane Below: Secrets of Elemental Chaos by Wizards of the Coast =-.

  8. greywulf says:

    @Elton Hmmmmmm. Integrating Arms Law with 4e D&D. Now, there’s a thought…….. :D

    @Mike A myth, indeed. That’s what I’m all about right now – bursting those silly stupid forum-bred myths about Fourth Edition D&D. A lot of folks will already know the truths, but there’s still an annoyingly sizeable number out there who Just Don’t Get It. They will, one day.

    @wickedmurph You bet! I love the idea of throwing waves of monsters at them to really make them sweat and up their game.

    @Elda I’ve found that too. Warlocks are tough (and incidentally my favourite class to play in 4e too!).

    @deadmeat Your GM lets you take an Extended Rest after every combat? Wow! No wonder you don’t feel any loss from Healing Surges. I’d put a stop to that kind of bevahiour right away. The minute your heroes step into a Dungeon you’re in enemy territory. That’s no place to bed down for the night after a little blood is spilled. Your GM needs a Serious Talking To, methinks.

    And watch out for the next part to this post where I turn things around and talk about How to Survive as a 1st level Character. Don’t quit when the going gets tough – fight smart!

    @Neuroglyph A quick question – does the difficulty level keep you on your toes and feel like your heroes are being challenged every step of the way? If the answer is yes, you have a great GM!

  9. EltonJ says:

    Hey don’t forget: Heat Critical Strikes, Cold Critical Strikes, Impact, and Electricity from Spell Law. They need to be in there too for fun and profit (and balance).
    .-= EltonJ´s last blog ..Writing a D&D Adventure is Easy! =-.

  10. by_the_sword says:

    4th edition 1st level characters take longer to kill but they are not necessarily hard to kill. That 20 HP wizard still has a crappy armor class and has to stand in the back and lob spells. Several kobold minions who hurl their javelins at him would pose quite a threat.

    Also, it is not necessary to beat a PC down to their ‘bloodied’ score as a negative integer Just get him below zero and then start working on the next party member. A monster who walks around during a raging fight trying to coup-de-grace helpless enemies will likely get himself dead in short order. Pay attention to the ones who can do damage.

    Standard soldiers often have as much hit points as the PC’s. A Kobold Dragonshield has 23 Hit points. I remember the look on the party’s faces when the dwarf paladin nailed his kobold opponent for 16 points of damage and the kobold shrugged it off. This ain’t your granddaddy’s D&D.

  11. drow says:

    wizard? crappy armor class? only if he’s neglected his Int. a 1st level wizard should have an AC of at least 13, possibly as much as 16, 18 vs. opportunity attacks. not too shabby, and not nearly as crappy as in previous editions.

  12. deadmeat says:

    I would *love* to be able to take an extended rest after 3 fights and not 1. But there is no way we can do that when almost every fight damagewise takes us *beyond* TPK and only our daily healing keaps us floating. An alternative would be for DM to go easy on the encounters. And that is not going to happen any time soon.

  13. greywulf says:

    @deadmeat Here’s hoping this post helps you out then.

  14. @deadmeat You take an extended rest after almost every fight?! My players stopped trying that after I taught them a nice lesson about why you can’t take a nice 8 hour nap in a dungeon :)

  1. January 25, 2010

    […] your GM has turned up the heat. Now it’s your turn. Here’s a handful of hints and tips that should prevent your hero […]

  2. January 27, 2010

    […] at his lair offers advice on how challenge first-level 4E characters. This post is especially helpful to DMs new to the edition, since he highlights specific monsters […]

Leave a Reply