The party in question came into the Forge with a taste for revenge. The previous week, the party was annihilated within a few rounds. The problem with this type of game is that you have to be cooperative and work together to beat the DM.
This game is a brutal game and the DM has the tools to rain hell down on the party. The one lesson taken away by the players is that a leader is necessary. The first time they attempted the encounter, we had 4 defenders and 3 strikers in the party. The whole party died with plenty of surges left to them. No controllers, no leaders can make for a fairly quick session.
Not only did the party not have a balanced party, they also split up and went around with the me me me attitude, thinking they could single-handedly defeated the villain.
The second attempt saw the players play a little smarter. With a leader in the party, the strikers went to work and the defenders defended. For some reason or another, no one seems to like to play controllers. The party made it as far as the room of robes and when we broke for the evening, both standing players had 1 hp. Interesting turn of events.
What players have to realise is that this game is a game of part chance and great cooperation. The DM will always wil because his monsters are all working together. Other players tend to ignore the fact that they have 840gp to buy consumables. Only one player last week popped a potion of resistance into their belly. This character survived over everyone else.
The players have to remember that this adventure is one big encounter, no time for short rests, no time for extended rests, just one big cluster of monsters that are trying to kill them. They know what is in there now, so they should tweak their characters to be able to offer the DM some sort of challenge.
Two words of advice: cooperate and strategise! Be smart and play safe. We are all having a lot of fun playing this encounter.
Coming soon. New season of D&D Encounters. Stay Tuned!