Welcome to The Chosen's journals. Each character is invited to keep a journal and write down the thoughts of their characters as they wander through Nyternia. In addition, the DM has a journal which highlights each session. The players are:

Blink - monk Errol - bard
Kestrel - fighter Malif - wizard
Vaugner - rogue Vernon - cleric/sorcerer

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Kestrel's Journal, session #30
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Post mortems are my least-favorite type of journal entry. Especially when there really was a mortem.

Immediately after the fight we lost, I thought we had just run into some unusually dangerous monsters, and couldn't win the fight. But now, I'm thinking that we would have been in much better shape had we performed more efficiently. So I'm going to do something a little unusual, and try to reconstruct the entire fight in this space. With commentary.

Round 1: We see the monsters, but aren't completely sure that they are going to attack us.

Errol calls out to them, but doesn't start drumming or cast haste, either of which helps us out in the case where we are attacked, but doesn't hurt in the case where we are negotiating. He also uses common rather than elvish or sylvan (which is what it turns out they do speak).

Blink moves to the side, unwilling to engage without clear signs of hostility. This is worse than moving and readying an action to attack if attacked, and worse than just holding so you get your attacks. The first of many missed attacks.

Bad guys attack, showing that they do resistable dexterity damage and have spring attack. Crucially, I didn't notice that they moved 60', and thus would be really problematic to run from.

My turn. I attacked on on the side of the formation away from Blink. This is correct if I can hold it off on my own without getting in too much trouble, while the rest of the party focuses on Blink's. But in that situation, this fight is going to be pretty easy -- if I can take on one or two by myself, we're not going to be in trouble. So I might as well go fight Blink's enemy, since if we are in a tough fight, we need to take them down as fast as possible. This also takes me out of haste range. A third option would have been to blow the Horn of Good and Evil, which might have helped somewhat.

Vaugner fires some arrows. This was fine, though he probably should consider activating the shock on his bow. Hard to know if that makes enough of a difference. If he's going to do it it needs to be now, to get the best effect and especially before haste goes off.

Vernon tries to turn them. The problem with that as a plan is that his turning abilities are minimal, since he left the cleric path some time ago. If he can turn them, then they aren't a threat. If they are a threat, there must be something better for him to be doing than turning. An enlarge on Blink, for instance, who was off his horse, or some other buff would have been much better.

Malif I think casts a maximised magic missile. This is good in that there is no chance to miss due to incorporeality.

Round 2: Errol starts to drum, and we all become more mighty. Blink and the monster trade spring attacks, I attack and take two hits, and fail to shake off the effects. It's surprisingly hard to resist them. I should have instead come back to the party to get into haste range from Errol.

Vaugner fires arrows, Malif casts flame arrow, both of these are fine. Though I wonder if Malif's spell selections for traveling have enough offensive spells -- if we need firepower, it would be nice if it were available. It's possible fetching, say, a lightning bolt from his pool was a better plan. If he can maximise one of those on two of the bad guys, it's a lot of damage. But that's a nitpick, no clear mistake here.

Vernon casts a self buff. Shield, maybe? This is another wasted spell, since he's not going to be in melee, and even if he is, these things hit well enough that I don't think it affected his chances of avoiding damage. Buffing a frontline partymember is much better -- there's still the enlarge option. Or a damage spell, though hitting is going to be a problem.

Round 3: Errol readies a haste for when I get back into range.

Blink spring attacks. This makes no sense. He should wait for the haste to go off, and then engage in melee to get his full set of attacks. Spring attacking means that he's going to attack once instead of 4 times next round. Now that he's the highest damage output member of the party, that's a big deal. And the bad guys only attacked once per round anyway, so there's no harm in closing with them.

I peel off and come back to the party, not getting in an attack. This was the right move, but only because I'd gotten separated from the party in a bad way to begin with. We're now in trouble in this fight due to all the lost actions, and we still haven't taken one out.

Vaugner waits for someone to give him some flaming arrows, crucially causing him to act after Vernon. Not a mistake, but the consequences were unfortunate later on. He gets some flame arrows and starts firing with them. He's the only person so far taking advantage of the haste.

Malif fires another magic missile, using his last maximise.

Vernon fires a ray at the monsters, and misses. These things are hard to hit, so this is probably going to miss, even with a touch attack. A buff spell on a party member is still much better here, though at least this wasn't completely worthless. It misses.

Round 4: Errol casts sound burst. It's going to on average do an irrelevant amount of damage, and might have a stun chance if it doesn't miss due to incorporeality. I think this has a really small chance of succeeding -- entering melee to draw off attack and to flank has to be better.

Blink spring attacks again. Why did he care that he was in the haste range, again? It's not like he's using any of its benefits. I guess it lets him run away better. Typical.

I move into combat, doing a little damage. I'll get to hit for full attacks next round.

Vaugner fires, I forget what Malif does, Vernon comes over and does a large healing spell on me. Thanks! I move from a third of my health remaining up to two thirds. Now there's almost no chance that I'm going to die due to hitpoints instead of dexterity damage.

Round 5: Errol attempts to beat on monsters. He has almost no chance to hit due to the full combat expertise, but that allows him to potentially absorb some attacks without taking damage. A fine move.

Blink spring attacks again. See previous comments.

Monsters do a fair amount of dex damage to Errol. He probably won't survive another round of combat.

I attack, and do ~30 damage. The monster doesn't drop. This is very bad.

Vernon, now going before Vaugner, backs up and casts a spell that lets him deliver touch spells at range.

Vaugner sees that this fight is probably unwinnable, and calls for a retreat. This was the right call, and we needed to run. Unfortunately, it came a split second too late, after Vernon spent his action doing something other than running.

In the ensuing discussion about how to get out, Malif plans to dimension door Errol and me away. He moves next to me, and readies a dimension door for when Errol gets to him. Vernon says that he has an escape plan, so we don't need to take him.

Errol (and the cook!) get to Malif, and the dimension door goes off. Vernon realizes that everyone is evacuating before the monsters go, and he has to wait until after they go, which is going to foil his escape plan. He points out that he is going to die, but nobody sees what to do about it, and people weren't really paying attention in the chaos.

As it turns out, all was not quite yet lost. Blink was hasted and therefore quite fast, and also hard to hit for the enemies. He could stop in front of Vernon to shield him, and probably still get away. Dangerous, but probably better than just sacrificing a party member. It would have been safer if he'd had a mage armor on him. He could also have kited one or two of them off in a different direction, again saving Vernon, and without eating the attacks. This was probably the best option.

Anyway, nobody thinks of that, Blink zooms off past Vernon, and three monsters descend on Vernon. He takes three hits, and now can't cast his escape spell (fly) and get away without taking three attacks of opportunity. They miss either 5 or 10% of the time, so he's not getting away.

He dies. Luckily he stays strapped to his horse so that we can recover his body, if you can call that lucky.

Anyway, looking back, there were really a lot of mistakes, by every party member except for Vaugner. We had on the order of 7 to 10 missed attacks (enough to drop one of the enemies even without luck), a lack of offensive spells, a spellcaster who cast one effective spell in the whole fight, and a retreat that was called out a split second too late. I suppose I could blame Vaugner for that, but he got us out -- there could have been many more deaths, like all of us, except for that.

We really need to do better than that, next time.