Okay, time to blow off a little dust here. I've been working a ton of overtime, out in the heat, and that has generally left my brain a mushy mess of exhaustion by the time I get home. This has also left exactly zero time for gaming, along with trying to keep up with all the children's activities. Regardless, posting will continue to be fairly slow for the foreseeable future.
Anyway, I took part in the new season of D&D Encounters on Wednesday at The Fantasy Shop in St. Charles, MO. They had at least six tables running (and with only 4 packets from WotC, so a couple tables had to improvise with the poster maps). Our table had a good mix; I played a Blackguard, Cecil, and across from me was Freya, a Paladin. We decided that honor trumped divine allegiance (at least so long as the Blackguard refrained from killing an innocent in cold blood!) so we could get along as a team. Next to me were two younger guys (20, 21?), one of whom ordered pizza for the table and made sure to role-play his Nethermancer's every combat action, and the other ran with the new Bladesinger class out of the Neverwinter Campaign Setting. Finally, across the table from them, two guys who were veterans of 3.5 D&D but new to 4E, and rounded out the party with a Hunter Ranger and a Warpriest Cleric. With all roles covered, we began.
Our DM, Damon, is also the organizer for Encounters, so all the other DMs come to him for questions and such. So, it looks like we'll generally be starting a little later than the other tables. This didn't leave a whole lot of opportunity for role-playing in the merchant square where the encounter took place, but we did at least get to roll to hear a rumor. None of us had a relevant character Theme for the encounter (this is how WotC is writing in role-playing opportunities in this season of Encounters, apparently), however, the luck of the dice gave me a rumor tied to my Theme, the Devil's Pawn. This Theme basically means you've sold your soul to Asmodeus and are left with an anarchy-style A burned into your chest, and gives you a rockin-sweet Encounter power in "Hellfire and Brimstone", which does automatic 5 fire damage to everything within 2 squares of you. It was absolutely perfect for taking out the horde of Plaguechanged minions that popped out of the sewers at the start of the combat session. Regardless, I had a merchant ask if I'd heard about the cults of Asmodeus that were going around branding people, and I replied: "Like this?" and opened my shirt to show him the burning A branded across my chest, which caused him to flee in terror and earned me our session's "Moment of Greatness."
The combat was a pretty straightforward slugfest; the horde minions dropped quickly, and the tougher Plaguechanged drakes piled up on the Paladin, including a critical hit, to drop her pretty hard in a single round. The NPC showed up with a whole lot of FAIL, as he completely missed on the first round when he rode in to "save the day". More minions came out of the sewers and were quickly dispatched by the Nethermancer and the Hunter while the Blackguard, Paladin, Warpriest and NPC (wearing the eponymous Lost Crown of Neverwinter!) polished off the drakes.
The session ended on a nice little cliffhanger, as a white dragon with Spellplague-blue highlights swooped into the middle of the market.
All in all, we had a much better night than the table across from us, which suffered a total party and townsfolk kill. Just plain nasty, but the dice fall where they will.