A first game, and some more questions.


Last night my group rolled up their characters, so an introduction of sorts is to be made:

The day opens, dusty and hot, on the outskirts of that benighted city Vayunpur, in the eastern Zamoran wastes. Three members of a gladitorial troop are bound by manacles and slave collars, as they push one another for the scant shade afforded by the scraggly acacia and palm trees. Our heros, chained together by their cruel masters, sit, awaiting their fate. Bound by chains, and the ability to speak Nemedian their thoughts wander to how they came to be in this horrible situation.

Cael, a cimmerian pirate, strong of limb but weak of mind, was part of a band of ruffians that plied the Southern Sea. After setting ashore to waylay a passing caravan his party was instead ambushed, and although griviously wounded, he survived. He was sold into slavery, and purchased by one of the gladatorial troops that makes its way from city to city, demonstrating it's bloody shows.

Demetrius, a young Nemedian soldier of small stature (and smaller intelligence), joined the army for the love of a girl. His love's father would not approve of a marriage unless young Demetrius proved himself a man, with a dowry and prestige to show for his efforts. Unfortunately in Demetrius' first engagement he was knocked silly by a violent blow to the head. When he awoke he was bound hand and foot, and sold to slavery.

Harperius "Harp" Vitupero is a witty, strong, and surprisingly dexterous young Hyperborean borderer... however he has been known to be a little susceptible to sickness, and isn't so hale or hardy. He was employed as a games warden on the land of some Jarl, with scant enough money to pay for his meals. When he poached the deer on that fateful day, little did he think that the needs of his grumbling belly would land him in the stockades. It was soon after that the gladiator troop entered town, and the prisons and jails were cleared to provide "sport" for the more experienced warriors.

The killing pits of Vayunpar are well known, and nobles and common folk from miles around travel to see the different gladitorial troops pit their warriors agianst one another. Traveling lords from as far as fair Aquilonia set up their pavillions and tents on the surrounding hills, and descend into the city during the evening to watch the combat unfold. The frestival during the summer months lasts one full week, and visiting troops from all over the kingdoms come to stake their fame on the grim outcome of their fighter's matches.

There are 7 killing pits, located outside the city. Our heros, considered only "chaff" or "fodder" by their cruel master, Kharup Khan, a Turanian lesser noble from the southern highlands of his country, who is corpulent of body, and lascivious of mind. He is surrounded by his Eunuch bodyguards, and a small contingent of Turanian Mercenaries at all times.

As the day grows old, "Jowels", a bloated black eunuch approaches the three. He alternately laughs, mocks, and slaps them, finally having two of the turanian mercenaries drag them to the killing pits. As the three approach, they realize that they are being brought to one of the larger pits. The crowd is filling the colliseum style seating, and the three are brought down a ramp into the holding pens.

It is there our heros make plans for the upcoming fight.

"If we are to battle against rival warriors, we should form up together, to protect one another", stated Demetrius, "and I shall promise to kill you quickly if we must fight one another".

Cael grunted, and picked his nose, while Harp pondered the motes that floated in the confines of the dingy cell. Soon the jailer had arrived, and they were dragged from the cell to the killing pits.

A war spear, dagger, and great mace had been dropped on the floor of the pit, as the heavy oak door slammed closed behind the three. They took a moment to survey the scene; they were at the bottom of a 10-12' pit, with bleacher type seats soring into the darkness above them. The raucous calls and jeers of the crowd wafted over them in audible, and palbitable, waves. Our heros, clothed only in loincloths, could see that there were burning sconces set about a foot above the ground, from which oily fire burned. This illuminated the scene. Directly in front of the three was a door... and from behind it came snarls.

Demetrius grabbed the spear, Cael the mace, and poor Harp was left with the dagger.

In a move that both shocked and delighted the crowd and his compatriots Harp tore off his loincloth, and set it alight in one of the sconces. Slowly the doors on the other side of the pit opened, and out lept two horrors from a bygone age.

The beats were four legged, and looked strangely dog like. They had powerful, fat heads, and a spotted, tawny hide. Saliva dripped from their mouth, to pool on the ground, and their eyes seemed to be alive with fire (perhaps it was the torches).

"Devil dogs!", croaked the cimmerian pirate.

"Hell spawn!", cried Harp.

"Fiends!", stammered Demetrius.

"Hyenas", noted the crowd.

The beasts spent little time in making their attack, as their emaciated bodies told of weakness of body, but savagery and desperation of attack.

Cael and Harp slowly advanced on the first Hyena, but it lept and quickly chewed through Harp's tendons, causing the borderer to fall to the ground. The Nemedian soldier, Demetrius, was desperately trying to fend off the other creature, as he was constantly having to take a 5 FOOT STEP back to engage the creature, as he battered it about it's snout.

The pirate was also ineffectual, and was unable to strike the demonic spawn of hell (Hyena), as his mace struck the sand many times. Harp stabbed and felt his dagger cut deep through the thick hide of the creature (Hyena), but he was again mauled, and passed out. The last view as he tumbled through the air was his burning loincloth, tossed ineffectualy at the creature.

It was then that our heroes got lucky, and with one powerful attack Cael the pirate managed to smash the beasts jaw off, sending it to a slow, painful death. Demetrius was also succesful in stabbing the other creature, and together with Cael they impaled it and crushed it's spine. Poor Harp lay bloody, but the adoration of the crowd swept over the adventurers.

"That was the slowest 48 seconds of my life", noted Cael.

"Hmmm?" said Demetrius.

Our heroes are taken to the recovery tent, and allowed to eat the leftovers of the more experienced warriors. They laugh and celebrate their success... but as the fires die down, Harp (who has been bandaged and lingers near death at 1 hit point) overhears the man next to him speaking in low tones to another fighter.

"Korax (a fierce Nordheimer warrior, and favored gladiator of the troop) is angry. His love, that whore from Shem, was taken from him at the whim of Kharup. He plans revenge, and soon we will have it."


Okay took us a good 4 hours to roll our characters up, pick feats, skills, and run through the introductory combat . We came across some questions, so look to you, good forum posters, to help us out.

1.) Harp is much more agile, and hence has a better chance to finesse his attacks. What is the downside of finesse? Obviously the weapons are lower damage dice, but do I get to add my strength bonus to the damage? Do I add my dex bonus to the damage? I didn't see that anywhere.

2.) 5 FOOT STEP. The hyena that was threatening Demetrius was constantly getting closer that the 10' reach of the spear. This caused Demetrius to take a 5 foot step back each time he tried to attack. Is this how it's supposed to work? It makes sense, but we're still new to the system, and we didn't know if it would provoke an AoO or not.

The hyenas, if played at their full potential, would have chewed our heros apart. I took the liberty of making them malnourished, and weakened. They liked to charge, and had weaker stats. Even so, they almost killed Harp, and had the other two not rolled well (after rolling horribly for initiative and the first couple of rounds of attacks), they might have died as well.

We like the game!
1) Finesse attacks bypass the DR of your target, but you have to beat the defense of the target + its DR on your attack roll. If you do, you deal full normal melee damage and the DR is not applied. You still use your Strength to add to this damage, but you use your Dexterity modifier with the attack roll. If you attack hits the target's defense, but misses by the DR amount, you still hit, but the target's DR is subracted from your damage as a normal hit, and you don't get to add your Strength modifier to the AP of your weapon.

2) Yes, that's exactly how reach weapons work. Remember though that any character can move, attack, and move as per the rulebook. They call it fighting on the run, but it provokes attacks of opportunity as normal.
bc99 said:
2.) 5 FOOT STEP. The hyena that was threatening Demetrius was constantly getting closer that the 10' reach of the spear. This caused Demetrius to take a 5 foot step back each time he tried to attack. Is this how it's supposed to work? It makes sense, but we're still new to the system, and we didn't know if it would provoke an AoO or not.

That is how it's meant to work, taking a 5 foot step does not provoke an AoO unless you do something after that step that would have provoked one had you not moved (such as stepping back and shooting a bow).

Demetrius could keep taking a 5 foot step and full attacking while the Hyena would be doing the same but moving forward.

In my group I've had players block the opponents ability to step backwards (e.g. by backing them into another group of enemies) thus denying them the ability to do the step & attack trick. The only option they would be left with is to move more than a step (a move action), probably triggering an AoO, and then be left with a single attack.