Play-By-Post: Match 01 Post-Game

Ye dungoneers who hath braved the challenges of the first Play-By-Post Fourthcore Team Deathmatch have blazed a trail into the realms of Dungeons & Dragons, pushing back the boundaries of what is and what is not possible, and come out better dungeoneers for it. Please, use this post as a means to comment on the strengths, weaknesses, and unique experiences you encountered during Match 01, while contemplating the next arena before you.

During the match, there was quite a bit of excitement and a flurry of communications within the teams. I've caught little snippets of it, and have asked all the teams to send me their FTDM email conversations for posterity, enjoyment, and as a strategy resource on how teams have planned for and handled the match. Also, please get me your DND 4e files, for archiving purposes, if you can and I'll post them here.

Let me just say that this past month has been tremendously fun. You're all a joy to game with, and I look forward to all the gibbings we will have together in the future!



  1. Playoffs! - Obviously we went with a heavier defensive lineup than normally takes place in a FTDM. CT and Sarah were both quite optimized in that regard to make ourselves less interesting options, which works great in a 3 team game but seems less useful in a 2 team game.

    I know not everyone enjoyed the map, but I thought it worked well for the number of players. The action was obviously pretty intense and fast-paced with a crazy number of kills.

    All in all it was a pretty excellent time and I look forward to the second tier of the game!

  2. I did not see the super-high defenses of Playoffs! coming and I have to say that it proved quite the challenge. I'm happy to say that we had some amount of auto-damage effects but staying in position to use those effectively... well I think that we all understand the shortcomings of the board. Well played men! I hope to face you again in battle some day.

    A large play area with >2 teams can be made to work, but you have to have some extra mobility to assist. I think Astral Ambush would have worked better for that reason.

    Despite the stumbles, round 1 was amazing. I can't say enough good things about the format or about my talented team, wetwORCs. (Thanks for running with the theme guys!)

    Also, hat tip to Quadcore for the excellent RP. You guys are to funny!

  3. I think I mentioned this on Twitter at some point, but it was interesting to see three very different team styles racing neck-to-neck to the finish.

    Playoffs! had their defensive focus, which as Bohrdumb said works fine in 3-team games. When we had (for example) a choice between Will 18 and Will 10, we attacked Orcs. In a 2-team match, it might have been prudent to start applying Aid Anothers.

    Orcs struck a good combo between hard-to-kill and hit-really-hard, which seems to be a good balance for FTDM. I think they just had horrendous luck in the last couple rounds.

    QuadCore went for a radiant mafia style team synergy, which I think maybe benefited us a total of three times. Again, I think it was mostly luck that carried us through the last couple rounds. (and the bloody bloody SW corner)

    I found it interesting that there wasn't much ranged in such a large map (304 squares). No Hunters, Sorcs, or war Wizards. For comparison, 2fort4thCore is the next largest map with 234 playable squares. (technically, E2M1 has 255, but it's half lava) I think this is already addressed with the Citadel 2.0, but it might be interesting to differentiate between map styles for differing numbers of teams.

    There were multiple times with QuadCore and Orcs when I was F5-ing like a madman, and I know I surprised everyone in the house with my shout of exultation after Odesso's mighty leap across the Lake! Sorry Playoffs, - your conservative defenses and attacks were effective, but I just did not have that same sense of excitement with your turns.

    I'm utterly stoked for the next few weeks of FTDM PbP are going to bring! As a PbP and FTDM newb, this has been an incredible experience for me!

  4. Alecto from Playoffs! here:

    I'm sure others had this observation too, but I was down on the map from pretty early on. The artillery was overly plentiful and the lack of an attack roll on the boiling oil was, I believe, a bad design. The Allure effect just added randomness to the game. I'd like to see player decisions be the big difference in the game rather than who got randomly pulled off a 20' drop :) (yes allure hit me 5 of the 6 rounds and strongly contributed to two of my deaths (not sure if there were more or not). So overall I felt that the map was lacking, but it is a learning process and I'm highly confident that future maps will be more interesting.

    It would be interesting to calculate how many deaths were due to allure, the wand of fireballs, catapults, ballista, and player powers.

    I'd like for there to be a status sheet along with the map so that players can quickly see who has what status effects along with defenses and HP. The DM has to track this anyway, and it should all be public and easily accessible so that the best decisions can be made. We had a shared spreadsheet with people's defenses, HP and effects and stuff, but we didnt' really keep it up to date because it was too laborious.

    Overall it was a ton of fun, I liked the orc and robot themed teams. I'm not sure whether I like two or three way matches better, but each has a different dynamic and is interesting in its own way.

  5. CT Feltek FOREVAH!

    Actually I have to agree with many people - Playoff's decision to go strong defense just wasn't that fun. It also certainly wouldn't work in a 2 way match, because Ugarth's crits are just too strong, and no defense is high enough to prevent that. (Poor Sarah).

    It also led to everyone ganging up on the Playoff's at the end which was disheartening - and then on my turn I *gasp* stayed dying. Bleh. Sure it won, but it simply wasn't exciting. So I don't recommend it to anyone.

    I also found that the whole point of the team was high defenses - but 2 of our party didn't have the same level of defenses. Which meant, as a team, we could be killed almost as easily as anyone else, which meant sacrificing the offense on Sarah and CT Feltek wasn't that useful. Further, (and not his fault, as he had TONS of computer problems) when Renato smashed us up with the wand of fireballs early on, and then didn't use his killing spree, it put a damper on things on a team level; combined with the fact that 3 of my turns consisted of 'death save' (yes 3 of them - we would have been in last place, although we probably wouldn't have been ganged up on, thus changing the last round drastically), even though I had planned for that, I largely stopped contributing as a teammate, which definitely isn't a good thing for such an awesomeness as fourthcore.

    As for the map itself, I liked the largish size - it showed that a ranged character COULD have played, and done well. On some of the smaller maps, with a person like Ugarth around, ranged characters would be almost prohibited simply due to attacks of opportunity. Further, the auto damage of the artillery I LOVE as a concept; because missing in this kind of game just sucks big time (and I'm almost sorry I designed my character to make others miss. Just isn't fun. Even worse for Renato and Alecto - they got picked on BIG time)

    I think that overall this has taught me - play it like I'm standing around with a bunch of friends, with drinks in hand (whether mountain dew or vodka, whichever) - not as a theorist trying to 'win' (which is how CT Feltek was concieved). My next few characters will be MUCH more aggressive.

    Keep on KILLING!!!!

  6. Ugarth here. Ugarth like the part when puny humies thought he was scary. :)

    Seriously though, this was UHmazing and a ton of fun to play in. I loved the way the (REALLY) different teams interacted and the general sense of fun and tension that showed up a lot in this game.

    I designed Ugarth as a melee basic NOVA damage machine. I'm in love with the new essentials builds and I think the Slayer fighter is just ridiculous. My goal was to build a guy who could charge 9 squares (using a move and a charge i could get to pretty much any square on the map on my turn) and enough encounter tag on powers to make a hit absolutely devestating. Doing 53 damage with a critical on my first move was pretty much Awesome-in-a-Can. I was blessed by an inordinate amount of critical hits that really maxed out my damage potential (gotta love an executioner's axe in the hands of a half-orc madman), but overall Ugarth was a one-trick pony.

    It was all run into this guy, hit him STUPID hard and then die and respawn. Rinse and repeat.

    I was surprised (especially in the last round) to not be the target of more mind control. Building an ax-swinging monstrosity left my Will defense abysmally low and made me a liability to my own team (or a potential third party, Alecto, I'm looking at you!).

    This was a ton of fun and I'm excited to see what the next match brings. Kudos to Playoffs and Quadcore!

  7. Two things I learned running with WetwORCs. First is that I really need to put money aside to pick up essentials books. Second is that, without a DDI subscription, I'm don't have the resources to properly build for this game.

    My team-mates caught a few problems with my initial monk build that I had overlooked. I knew that themes existed but had no idea that they included powers. Honestly, when I go again, I'll probably leave it up to them to make my character :/

  8. Og here!

    The wizard build looked good in concept, and it really was the only way to beat the defenses, but the magic missiles weren't strong enough to have as much an impact as I would have liked. Plus I admit I chose a theme that I was never able to use effectively.

    Not to mention that my Will attacks had little chance of hitting most of you. :P

    I learned a few things, and for my next match I will be creating a character that will probably be a polar opposite to Og. We'll see how it goes!

    'til the next time! Og back be!

  9. Teddy Grumpkin reporting in.

    Everyone has already chimed in with some great and eye-opening suggestions, but I wanted to throw my two cents in as well.

    I have only ever DM'd 4e, for the last 3+ years straight, actually. Never had to make a PC and min/max their abilities and search for synergies (which is important in FTDM). Especially at lvl 1, which makes this form of play really different from a normal campaign. Like huntershaven, I had no idea the themes had powers, as my orc mates can vouch for. And I really don't like the new DDI char builder, but i've learned to use it so I can keep pace.

    I played the warlord, because our team was damage focused, and I figured with my at-wills, we'd be able to outslug the other teams. Sadly, our low will defense killed us on this map, literally. The telefrag bonanza that our team went through put us far behind, and being auto-gibbed is only when YOUR the one causing it.
    That aside,I only got to use direct the strike once, and my feat was based on granting the extra attacks. So I was kinda useless in the way I had planned my PC. I benefited from some great rolls, and got two crits and a killing spree which was great. Having healing proved very useful, and with the rules making it a minor action, I know I saved Ugarth one immediate death or two based solely on that ability.

    And as Aahz stated, the teams started to rely on the map powers more and more in the latter rounds. And while it was a big part of the comeback, I'd like to see PC powers be more of a deciding factor. And perhaps on other maps, negative hp should count as a death to encourage respawning and PC engagemet. I know CT was playing to win, but having to lie there and only roll a saving throw and NOT botch is less than excellent. I see this like a video game, and negative hp should allow for one of your allies to save you (see MW3, i believe) but you should have to respawn. Its a deathmatch, we all want to fight and use our powers and cover ourselves in the gore of our enemies (sorry, the orc talking...).

    I loved having the RP too, though I am not always great at it. Kept team spirit up.

    No matter what, I'm already in the next match and will be waiting for the ones after that. Getting on twitter has turned out to be great for my gaming soul, with fourthcore and and FTDM hooking me. Can't wait for PAX 2012 to meet some of you guys and do this live.


    P.S. Huntershaven, no worries on the errors, happens when you de-level someone. Kludge rocks, wish he was played in closer quarters. And I'll make you a sheet anytime, just ask (finally figured out that pdf-converting size problem too).

  10. Ugarth said, "I was surprised (especially in the last round) to not be the target of more mind control. Building an ax-swinging monstrosity left my Will defense abysmally low and made me a liability to my own team (or a potential third party, Alecto, I'm looking at you!)."

    Last round I couldn't used ranged powers without giving up an opportunity attack and I was at 3 HP, so I wasn't going to risk it. Second winding the last turn was boring, but sadly it was probably the right move.