One-Shot on Hold, Game Night Resurgent

I'm determined to make game night a priority this year. I feel disappointed at the end of the week if I didn't get to play anything, and that led to a lot of disappointment in 2010. I've already made all of this clear in my New Years resolutions, though. So far, we've had game night every week in 2011. That's right. We're one for one. I consider it a winning streak. And the first week of 2011 was actually the second game night in a row, a first since September if I remember correctly. I feel like celebrating... and I think I'll do so by posting a few pics of our last session.

In the last session, we ended with a near-TPK. This session, those characters that died were replaced by more efficient ones. Chalk it up to getting better acquainted with the system. They were:

With less time to play due to work responsibilities, we only got in three encounters this session. The first was a rather long fight with a deep dragon, which I didn't capture with a pic. It kept the players on their toes, but to be honest, I got a little bored during this fight. This thing had too many hit points as a solo monster, and not enough variety in its attacks to make it stay interesting for me. It made me wish that dragons were still spellcasters the same way they used to be: big scary beasts with a plethora of spells they can pull on you to make things interesting. [Begin Mini-Rant] Excluding its basic attacks, the deep dragon had seven different attacks... two of those were encounter powers, two were recharge powers, one was a reaction that the players quickly figured out how to avoid, and one didn't do any damage. If the dice didn't favor me on the recharge powers, I was rolling for the exact same attack every single time after round four or five. Maybe the party's damage output wasn't high enough to put the dragon away quickly enough, but I was tempted to end the fight prematurely just so I could stop rolling claw attacks. 3E era dragons with spellcasting abilities didn't suffer from this, at least not in my experience. I actually wish there were more elite dragons so that I wouldn't get bored during these encounters... there are 82 in the Compendium right now, but a sizable percentage are actually dragonborn or things like dragonbone golems. [End Rant]

The second fight took just as long, but was much more interesting because of the tactics the party used to win. They stumbled into a prison, with duergar holding a pair of svirfneblin captive. Sithis, the duergar avenger/invoker, conjured a wall of blades in the middle of the room that cut the enemy forces in half. The party destroyed the duergar without sustaining many injuries at all, as they used a combination of pushing and sliding powers to make sure their opponents "encountered" the wall of blades as often as possible.
That wall of dice is actually a wall of blades...

When only one duergar remained, he fled back into the sewers, and as the party pursued, they realized why the outmatched duergar hadn't fled sooner. The fleeing duergar, though he died in the process, led the party into a nest of giant spiders and chitine!
Careful observation might reveal the Blood Angel in this picture... he's a placeholder for my brother's Blade Angel power.

As the spider encounter ended and the night came to a close, I realized something. I really miss playing D&D. As I put more emphasis on game night this year, I think D&D needs to make a triumphant return after its two year absence. I'll be working on that... except next time, I'd really like more of a story. No more one-shots for me, at least not in the near future. This one will have to be put on hold because Will is overseas again, but game night? Game night is back. And the campaign ideas are brewing...
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