Lair Assault Lessons: Episode One

It never ceases to amaze me how players interact with the Dungeons and Dragons game world when the lives of their characters are at stake. Here are a few observations from the first week of Lair Assault play.

More Players = More Time Required to Kill Them All

In the last week I ran two tables through this ultra-deadly module. The first table was an eight-player private game at a bachelor party. For any DMs out there, whatever you do, DO NOT run Lair Assault for more than six players. Scaling up monsters and hit points, the adventure took nearly SEVEN hours to run to completion.

This number of players was difficult to scale for, and I felt that the action economy of the mod was ruined, making the challenge too easy for the massive group. Also, with a few summons, ten figs were difficult to jam onto a cramped dungeon map.

Although Lair Assault is designed to run only 2-3 hours, with six relatively efficient players, we ran over to nearly 3.5 hours. This party lost on time at the end of round 20 with one stubborn defender left standing.

Some Players Just Won’t Die

This defender mentioned above did not have much chance of success at the end… he used his standard action to Total Defense for the last several rounds hoping a party member would roll a 20 on a death save. The defender could not deal enough damage to take out Mordai Vell, a fire bat, and two fire breathing statues that remained… but the defender’s defenses were so high that the remaining monsters were having trouble hitting him. To make matters worse, the defender also had regeneration from a potion he had consumed earlier.

The eight player group was very cautious– almost painfully cautious. When they opened a door, they made lots of knowledge checks before proceeding, even if enemies opened fire from the other side. If the enemy threat was ranged, the would not send the entire group into the room. They would simply send the ranged strikers to the front and waited until the threat was gone.

Towards the end of the adventure, they were so paranoid about everything that they were afraid to open any door that they didn’t absolutely have to open, and they even hesitated to pick up the gem from the bejeweled statue, despite the glory reward for doing so.

Magic Items Never Dissapoint

Later this week I’ll be writing about some of the cheesy ideas I dreamed up, as well as some of the cheesetastic items I’ve encountered thus far. It never ceases to amaze me how players can dig up such obscure combinations to take full advantage of the constraints they are given!

Your Lessons?

Have you learned anything noteworthy about Lair Assault? Let us know!

3 comments for “Lair Assault Lessons: Episode One

  1. Sunyaku
    September 9, 2011 at 3:14 am

    UPDATE: I have since learned that potions of regeneration are level NINE consumable items, and as such, are ILLEGAL for Lair Assault Forge of the Dawn Titan. Next time that player will be easier to kill!
    Sunyaku recently posted..Surprising Surprise Rounds

  2. Vondal, yes THAT Vondal
    September 13, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    So Lair Assault is the ultimate cheese factory. Death isn’t a real consequence, in fact you are rewarded for dying in un-opportunistic ways, so that real question is what did you expect? That players wouldn’t use the wide world available to them?

    Our group didn’t run out of rounds or hit points, we ran out of real time. Hell we didn’t even get past round 7 and after round 5 we were testing/exploring/just plain having fun. So much cheese to be made, so little time.

    I wouldn’t see it as “OMG What are they doing?”, I see it more as “OK show us what you can do.” I wouldn’t be shocked by a world record amount of cheese used to defeat Lair Assault because that is what Lair Assault is, cheese production of ridunkulous levels.

    There is much fun to be had. Yes I see a 5 round solution. Yes I see one shoting critters. Therein lies the fun, seeking out a solution knowing there may be more than one solution. The general restraints of off, this ain’t Encounters or LFR, this is cheese. This. Is. Cheese.

  3. Unknown
    October 3, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    The lair is a breeding ground for the DM to over use his power to break the rules. I’ve seen DMs make players die one shot into lava pits,get burned completely in the Oil room. Have the lvl 10 Elemental in the Oil room,shift twice and have darkvision. Hell he gave darkvision to all enemies in the Lair,just so that Rangers couldn’t use their “Stalkers Mist” daily. Wizzards needs to add a wider array of restrictions to the DM inside Lair Assault,or else this will happen to alot of players.

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