So, why post here about my True Dungeon runs rather than just use the forums? Because it’s a different medium for expressing thoughts.
I did four runs of 4C. In total, I did 13 runs of 4ABC – essentially 13 runs of the same dungeon.
4C was all about wizards. Everyone finally get to whip out their Mage Medallions and Ashenne’s and lose even more hit points than by MECing.
I had no intention of playing on Friday, but an urgent plea on the forums dragged my generous and noble self to turn $66 into more treasure I don’t need. Gave me a chance to run Mage Medallion for the first time as human Wizard.
We did puzzles in rooms 6 and 7. In rooms 1, 3, 4, and 5 combat lasted three rounds. I had not done all of my math ahead of time, so I took a long time calculating damage in room 3 when I cast two spells on round one. The group was something of a mixed group where it wasn’t exactly playing up but where, for instance, I held back significantly. This run was mostly about my understanding decisions and math for MM … and, uh, socializing with other people and playing a game with other people and being there/doing a solid for other people because I’m just that wonderful [insert “ladies” here doofus].
Saturday was a Cabal run. We had five complete Cabal Sets available, so we could all cast two spells once per room on a single turn. Because of made up errata on tokens that didn’t need errata (yet), actually could cast three spells in a turn. So, someone who shall remain named Potter burned through his spells as fast as possible. Room 1 = one round of combat. Room 3 = one round of combat. Room 4 = one round of combat, I never took an action. Room 5 = three rounds of combat as a certain wizardly type was running out of spells. Room 6 = I killed myself twice, more on this later. Room 7 = choosing to do puzzle because one player hadn’t seen it.
As someone who embraces sidekickiness, junior partnerness, having wizards nuke things on round one was entertaining enough. But, I really dislike the room 6 combat. I immediately lost interest in room 6 puzzle after I knew the solution (which was given to me, making it even less relevant to me … foreshadowing). But, I actively disdain the combat.
I’ve been trying to nail down a single reason and I think I’ve concluded it’s not a single reason. I think it’s a combination of: one, it’s way too hard for a non-7 room combat with all sorts of obnoxious effects; two, I don’t want to murder the enemy and I don’t have a lot of melee builds to subdue her, a mechanic that doesn’t even interest me in this case anyway as it still feels like beating down; three, there are ways to not fight at all and I learned what the main way was pretty quick. On multiple occasions, the combat was avoided. So, why bother choosing to do it? If it’s a forced combat, then, I understand coming up with cool alt ways to deal with it. When you can just choose not to do it in the first place and have a bunch of free time to get a drink out of the kitchen or use the restroom or whatever with the puzzle, why choose to do it? Other than getting petrified, which probably shouldn’t have happened as the DM screwed me on at least one occasion, the only time I ever died in 4ABC was in room 6 combat. Some may say that’s a good thing, that it gives a challenge.
No, it doesn’t. It’s not a challenge when you know you can not do it at zero penalty. The room is completely hollow to me no matter what you choose to do.
So, let’s talk about room 7, next. I like the combat in room 7. Oh, it’s not the greatest thing since that fight in … in … um, the Ice Shaman Troll whatever in N2, perhaps or … room 3 in 4ABC where murdering porcupossums enpleases me due to multiple targets being preferable to me. I fully embraced the Mask of Mayhem into Hood of Reflection metagame. I didn’t understand people who didn’t just cheat their way out of petrification. I equipped Hood of Reflection a number of times for no reason as my groups chose puzzle and the blindness from room 5 is not that big of a deal.
I _ the puzzle in room 7. Yup, it’s _ to me. First time I did room 7 puzzle, within about two minutes, the group solved it using prior experience with it and a clue given on the forums that changed behavior in room 2. Having O chance to process the puzzle, it’s not really a puzzle room to me, it’s just a blank room to end the adventure. Yet again, totally hollow experience.
So, I got some enjoyment out of the Saturday run but way less than a crazed wizard who turned invisible because couldn’t be bothered to run Charm of Spell Swapping. But, it was two rooms in a row that I had zero or less than zero interest in. Not that we shouldn’t have done the room 7 puzzle since I’m not soloing these runs, but it’s completely anticlimactic.
In general, I’m finding that having a token collection means that room 7 puzzles lack interest to me. Well, after the first time you do them or the first time you solve them or whatever, but that’s the problem. Any puzzle loses interest when you know the answer. For room 7 to be a puzzle means you missed out on what is supposed to be a boss fight just to not do anything.
Sunday’s first run was different in that my group sponsored a forum run. Eventually ended up full for an Epic run where I expected us to crush tiny heads. Rounds = 3, 2, 2, 2, 3. There was too much help on at least the room 6 puzzle to someone who hadn’t seen it before because so many people just love to give answers rather than puttering around the kitchen debating on whether to get a snack or not.
But, it was good. Certainly for me it was good. Things went smoothly whenever I was paying attention. My Mage Medallion use was very fast because I precast all of my first round spells except for one time where I got Restored Spell. I had my round twos figured out so those went fast. Room 7 combat had Epic!! ending with rogue critting sneak attack and getting turned to stone, then monk critting with stun … and getting turned to stone.
Last 4C run was Nightmare Double Down. Mage Medallion third time. Everything was prefigured out again so my turns went quick. Bard kept critting for 90+ damage and this party should have probably been doing Epic Double Down to get challenged. We did room 7 puzzle for more rogue treasure and party treasure (a topic I don’t care about blogging about). So, again, anticlimactic ending.
I was drained after that. I jumped into our Discord voice channel for my weekly supers game right as they were ending. I felt wasted for hours afterwards.
4ABC was not my favorite dungeon. I liked 2AB the most, then 3AB, then 4ABC, then 1AB. I don’t think having a C version of the dungeon was the problem. The problems (for me) were: I don’t like NPCs constantly talking to me while I’m trying to do something, so I enjoyed room 2 way way less than other people did, plus it got crazy repetitive since it only changed outside of the puzzle itself between dungeon versions; room 4 puzzle was completely uninteresting as it was just a memorization task which makes zero sense when people screenshot in VTD; room 5 monster didn’t interest me unlike various other people and I didn’t find metagaming against it interesting either, also the look of it was way less cool than it seemed when we got a look at it in the warehouse – the perspective was all wrong which has been a consistent problem with like one room each dungeon in VTD combats; room 6 combat sucked and puzzle was pretty much a blank to me; room 7 puzzle was a blank to me and I don’t like room 7 puzzles anymore.
But, I played it 13 times and what largely determined my enjoyment level was not any of this stuff. What largely determined my enjoyment level was who I played with. Playing with people I like is so, so much better and I realize now that TD really should be all about finding people you want to play with and only playing with those people. It’s too expensive and, now, too repetitive for me to do runs where I may not enjoy playing.
For instance, my solo runs were … okay, one kind of sucked because there was no way I could get through it, where the other was decent up until I ran into room 6 combat. I need to only do solo runs when I already know the dungeon.
I do hope 5ABC is better than 4ABC. I hope to avoid “task” puzzles. I hope there aren’t terrible combat room options but rather combat room options I want to fight because they can be metagamed and because I want to murder the monsters with extreme prejudice.
I hope that melee doesn’t get as punished as it did in 4, which was better than 3 but not as good as 2.
More undead! How about a plant?
What am I missing? More comments about resource use? How to Mage Power your way to 100+ damage on round one of combats? My feelings on the aesthetics of the dungeon?
Sure, room 1 looked good, room 2 looked good, room 3 before the fight looked good enough, room 4 looked good, room 5 would have looked better if monster wasn’t so small and toylike, room 7 looked good. Only thing was too many trees in a swamp. Wanted more swampiness. Some overly dark sections that could have had small lights behind trees to give more haunted feel.
Still, 4ABC way better than 1AB. Apps work really, really well for most things that matter. Repeated runs are routinely righteous. But, then, I mostly play with friends or friends of friends.
Okay, bonus Mage Medallion section:
Rm1 = Quicken Burning Hands 20/20/21, spellswap Cat’s into BH 20/21/20, 40/41/41 == 2 rds, 41 damage, no action on round 2, won initiative
Rm2 = pomegranate Detect Evil and two tiny t-rex arms, turtle/ram/cat
Rm3 = Quicken, Fork MM 42/42 and Lightning Storm 20/20/54, Reaver 62/62/64, round 2 Hammer 25, round 3 no action == 3 rds, 62/62/64, 25, no action, we won initiative
Rm4 = Throw hammer 28, no action Quicken, Sharpen Scorching Ray 52 and Fire Dart 37, 52/37 == 2 rds, 28, no action
Rm5 = Quicken, Sharpen Scorching Ray 42 and MM 32, 42/32, throw hammer 13, no action == 3 rds, 74, 13, no action
Rm7 = Quicken, Alter, Sharpen, MEC Ray of Shock 60/112 and MM 30 Puzzle bonus treasure
Rm1 = Quicken, Fork, Sharpen Ray of Shock 49, Magic Missile 39 ; Bull’s Strength Ranger, Acid Splash right 37 == 3 rounds, lost initiative
Rm3 = Quicken, Fork MM 39/39, Fireball 51/20/20, 51/59/59, Reaver survivor for 10 – 59/59/61 = rounds 2, didn’t act on round 2, Init 39 (QS)
Rm4 = Fail save, miss hammer, rd 2 – Hammer for 24 == rounds 2, hammer/hammer, miss, 24
Rm5 = Restored Fireball, MEC, 56 damage, Acid Splash 19 == rounds 2, Fireball, 0 level 19
Rm7 = Quicken, Alter, Sharpen, MEC Ray of Shock 52/101?, Magic Missile 19, spellswap Ray of Shock 29, Spell Store Fireball 31, rd 3 spellswap Invisibility into Acid Ray 23 == rounds 3, 52+19, 29+31, 23, monk and rogue both critted and turned to stone, also maybe one or two others