More 4e yesterday and much fun was had.
It feels quite strange playing a character who is essentially socially incompetent and rather just a lethal weapon/wall of steel to be deployed when things go to shit. There are some times when I just shut up at the table and fall silent into 'bodyguard mode' which is quite a change for me, but its very in-character. I love playing Morn because he is so different from my other characters from previous games.
I particularly liked the visuals from this game. The rugged Badlands, the beastmen plagued valley, the ancient city outpost of scum and villany, the smokey tavern filled with miscreants and the assault on the ancient dwarven gatehouse. All excellent. The battle through the gatehouse was great too. We are much more at home with the system and the way that our characters work in the system and how that relates to the roleplay. In particular, the way Artemis - the ranger - is used as a highly mobile 'hunter killer' whilst Assamber - the mage - creates an environment that suits us rather than our opponents. Azhanti - the cleric - and me, Morn, the paladin - are the 'tanking team' and when we get into the zone, none shall pass.
We had a classic moment in this session where the dwarf-changeling turned into a giant and TWATTED me from nearly full health to -2hp and dying. When we first started playing, this would have worried us. Now, Ian makes the 'oh, its the Rocky II moment!', Nigel flings in a healing touch and I do the rest. -2hp to 59hp in less than one round and I am surging forward and planting my hammer in the giants skull. Visually, the idea of me rising from the ground, bloodied but unconquered like some armoured Stallone takes some beating. I love it.
However, the real innovation this week was the introduction of stunt points. We have had problems with stunting, which is daft considering a number of us would count ourselves as dirty hippy gamers! I think the trappings of D&D and the implicit and deep-grained GM as Authority figure business might have something to do with it - and we have had some GM vs Player atmosphere discussions lately which didn't help. Stunt Points act and are given just like Action Points but they specifically allow you a sizeable leeway when it comes to stunts. I suspect that some level of parity will be reached in how they are adjudicated but I was very pleased with the way Andrew did it. We used them twice. In one, Artemis pinned a fleeing defender by his heels (ok, he also killed him, but the thought was there). In another I tipped the table that the dwarf was fighting on onto its side, tipping him into the noxious cloud that Assamber had created and keeping him in it for another round. Cool, cinematic stuff that might have failed otherwise. I like it. A lot.
Next week (yay!) we see whether we can save the slaves, escape the evil wizard, find the dwarves and more stuff. Awesome.