We're rapidly coming to the end of the shake down cruise combat. It's been slow, but not intolerably so and quite a lot of that was me losing the use of my right hand. With a cast of 8 (9 including the druid's bear) this is bound to be the case, and we will all speed up once everyone works out what everyone else can do.
That includes me. It's been a useful little fight. I suspected that getting this party to die is going to be extremely difficult. That's good news from their perspective, but means I now need to find some different ways of testing them.
Simply upping the number of monsters isn't the answer here. There's only so much monster a map can hold without becoming a bus queue of silliness. I shall be looking at terrain and traps to break them up, create distractions and make it hard for them to focus fire.
I've also got the problem that an enthusiastic player has inexplicably vanished. That was three weeks ago and while he's been run by the rest of the group it's not an ideal solution. He'll be left behind in Hallampour on some flimsy pretext and another player will leap into the vacant slot.
Don was (is) a rogue and proved lethal during his brief tenure. Andaros is a battle wizard. A very different thing. Where Don got up close and personal and eviscerated one of my sand giants in a single turn, Andaros is all about making life hard for multiple foes at once.
We've also had a lot of proof that a druid with combat bear is a good thing to have on the team. Dram and Dirt have done sterling work backing up Nayce the assassin. The problem for Nayce is that it takes him two rounds to set up a major attack and during that time he is vulnerable. Was vulnerable. Not any more. Put a combat bear at his side and he turns into a much tougher proposition.
Goliaths ... oh, my. Cronin the cleric and Greeg the warden. They're remarkably hard to hit. They shrug off damage. They move surprisingly fast. Greeg and Kevaras the drow paladin have been playing mark swapping with everything in sight. Combine this lot with Guldarin the chatty dwarf invoker and his lovely array of ranged demolition and Zeric the gnome who is actually two gnomes and wipes out braincells by looking at his enemies in a funny way and you can see the battles are shaping up to be interesting.
So are the social dynamics. I hope the players are enjoying themselves as much as me.