I've been playing in a 4E game with some guys, cause, well frankly, because that's what's available. Anyway, our DM Wes, had set us on a mission to rescue some villagers from the Valley. They had been captured by some hobgoblins and taken into this old abandoned minotaur city. Well, we went after them. Duh.
Turns out that it's not REALLY the hobgoblins that are to blame for this, but rather it seems a crooked group of powerful mages have swiped them in order to use them as blackmail leverage to get us to do some dirty work for them. Some items had been heisted and they wanted them found with as little fuss as possible. We didn't really have much of a choice; Fight the mages, or work for them. Hmmm, option two seemed reasonable.
I'm playing a thief named Thoth Amon (heh...yeah, I love REH and the names he comes up with.), who's this Babylonian looking dude from the darker side of a port town. He's a rough customer who doesn't hold much faith in human nature, but he's willing to give most a chance at "redemption". The first thing that Thoth wants to do is run this mage (The Arcanis) through for forcing him into this situation. But he's convinced by his party members that this isn't a "prudent" course of action.
Well fast forward: There were a couple of quests that were levied upon us; The pay out was of course the villager's freedom. Hrmph... The first quest was completed without much adieu and 1/2 of the villagers were released.
It was the second quest that proved a bit more interesting, to say the least. I'm not going to go into a play by play, but simply put, we were tasked with finding the second set of these stolen artifacts (I'm having trouble believing that all of these things were stolen and spread out amongst all these different factions, but hey, I'm just the messenger right?) which were to be found with a group of gnolls taking refuge in an old abandoned temple to Baphomet.
Sounds kinda shaky to me. Turns out I wasn't too far off. We get through this portal that takes us to the temple and we emerge into this large room with 3 archways leading off of it. (including the one we were currently in.) 5 huge pillars, carved to look like minotaurs stood at random places in the room and in the far corner was a low, square well.
First thing, the paladin steps into the room and sets off these magic mouths, which deliver some type of message to the faithful. We ignore them and he proceeds to the well, looks down, and WHAM! A huge set of tentacles reaches up and nabs him. Boom! We're in a fight for our lives.
Add in a couple of ghouls hiding in the shadows and a few chokers scrambling in from overhead, and you've got a big ol passle of trouble with a capital "T". Can you see any kind of a theme in the above mentioned adversaries? They can all grab, immobilize and / or stun. This was a bit of an issue and turned out to be our undoing.
It didn't take long. 5 PCs bit the dust in quick succession. We made a few tactical blunders, which in 4E can spell doom in a quick way. You really do have to be decent with tactics in this newest iteration of the game. Oh, and I forgot to mention, but we were short a "defender", or rather a fighter, and that my friend was probably the largest contributor to our demise.
So in the end, we got the ass end chewed out and wrapped the evening up rolling up new characters.
My take on this whole debacle? I LOVED it! Seriously. One of the largest complaints I've had regarding 4E is that there's a huge safety net, which sort of fuzzies the distinct edges of danger. And I don't like that. I want my game to be decidedly nasty. I want to know that there's a very real chance that I won't succeed and that if I do, I've done something above and beyond the norm.
That was one of the huge differences between the earlier games and today's version: Back then there was absolutely no preconceived notion that you were going to make it. In fact it was quite the opposite. IF you made it you knew that it was because you were either VERY lucky or VERY cunning. Or both.