Aug 11, 2010

Gen Con Aftermath: The Delve

Besides Castle Ravenloft, one of the other games I played this year at Gen Con was the Dungeon Delve. This was a short event, where a party of pre-gen characters goes through about two encounters in a one hour time limit.

This year the pre-gens were all built using the upcoming D&D Essentials ruleset. For this very reason, I was greatly interested in trying this out to get a taste of how these characters would behave. For the one game I played (due to other commitments, I didn't have time to play the delve more than once), I chose to play the slayer (fighter).

If you haven't already read about the slayer, check out the preview article posted on the official site.

The one thing I really liked was the new Stance ability. This allowed me to modify my basic attack with either a stance that gave me +1 to hit, or one that granted +2 to damage. I think this is much better than the previous at-will powers, which effectively negated the need to ever use a basic attack. Also, the lack of daily powers all makes sense for fighter types as well, "Once I do this maneuver, I can't recall how to do it again till tomorrow?". Once thing I really want to see is how Essential characters, particularly the fighters, stack up against PHB fighter builds.

The delve itself was rather simple, as we entered one room, there were a pair of creatures waiting to attack (and a few others that sprung up a few rounds later), and when we entered the next room, more of the same. In each room, at least one player was close to getting killed, but lucked out in the end and everyone survived. I had heard of other tables yielding TPKs, or characters being killed before even getting their first action--that's what I call a long way to spend an hour!

By the way, I'm not trying to criticize the game, format, or time limit. I think this was a great way to show off the new character builds and throw in some quick combat to "kick the tires".

The other nice thing about the delve is that you earned points each time you played, and those points could be used for items that you could bring back to the delve at a later session. After one game, I was able to get upgrades to my armor and weapon. If only I had the chance to go back later!