Session 11 Field Report

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Field report for D&D Encounters: Web of the Spider Queen (Week 11) now available at Dungeon's Master.com. Check out our D&D Encounters Archive for weekly write-ups, actual play podcasts and new pre-generated characters.


A good but tough encounter at my FLGS. The heroes got pinned near the start area and were not able to take advantage of the blood font boon crit on 19-20; but the monsters sure did.

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We're nearing the end of the season, which means the backstabbing has begun!

Spoilers because my players need to NOT READ THIS THREAD! Also, there is a little bit of "the rest of the story" spoilage going on.
Show

Last week, the party traded one ally's life for loot, and outright killed another former ally. In my table, "dead is dead," so any PC or NPC who is killed is dead for good and out of the game. I roll in the open, so we have a trust built into how this story of evil people doing evil things is told.

This week, they encountered the demon-summoning drow torturers.

Now, in my party, the PCs are unknowingly divided into two alliances: Team Drow and Team Demon. One PC is working for Team Good-guy, the team that includes Tharinel (RIP), Khara, and Elminster. The basic idea is that a demonic prince and follower of Asmodeus has seen what Lolth is up to (trying to become the next goddess of magic) and thinks this is a bad idea, so is actively working against her. Team Demon also wants to recruit a few souls along the way, particularly some of the PCs.

Team Drow is an alliance of 3 PCs who are working with the drow and will be turning on their fellows very soon.

Team Demon is a group of PCs who have been secretly manipulated by the demonic prince, who is angling for one of their souls. The members of Team Demon know they have some "darkness" in their backgrounds/powers, but they don't realize that they're really, truly, on the bad side. The evil surrounding this party is so thick, Elminster can't even get his own messages to the party-- instead, the demonic prince backing Team Demon has been Elminster's "voice" so far.

Four of my 7 players were absent last night, including the one I most wanted to have participate. But, that's how these things go sometimes.

Of those remaining, we had one member of Team Drow, a neutral member of Team Demon, and the ONLY GOOD GUY in the party, a lawful good avenger. I had a friend step in to make a 4-person table, and gave him a bard with the blackguard multiclass feat-- she is also on Team Demon.

And then, in addition to the encounter as written, I had an Arcana DC for if they decided to summon a demon of their own (very hard DC for a minor action, moderate-hard if done as a standard). Those who had the "friendslayer" trait (a trait that all but one of them had from last week) had a significant bonus to this roll. I coached my stand-in player about the demon-summoning mechanic, so that he would show the party it was possible, if the rest of the party didn't try to do it themselves.

The encounter starts. The stand-in PC says "hey, a show! Let's watch!" But the drow notice the party and shouts to attack. The drow summon the demons and then move back to the farthest blood font, readying an action of "if my demon is killed, I summon another." The demons and minions rush up to pound on the PCs.

The avenger climbs up to the blood font, using a move action to get up next to it.

"Wait, can I summon a demon?"

I blink at him, as if this idea had never occurred to me (hahahah). "Well, yes. Do you want to?"

"Um...." He looks at his character sheet, at the words "Lawful good" scrawled across the top. "Um.... yeah, screw it. Why not?"

My little demon-DM heart is singing at this point. I've got him! the demon prince cries to his minions. This is an unexpected victory-- when he was the only one not to succeed against Lolth's trials, I was sure he would remain stalwart and not falter to temptation!

The avenger rolls his arcana check, gets a great score, and suddenly "Timothy the demon" appears. I hand over the deleveled maw demon printout I had prepared for my players.

By mid-fight, every PC had a demon under their control (Timothy, Lady Meow Meow, Chad, and Bruce). The avenger and barbarian were both bloodied several times. I had wanted to kill off the stand-in PC so the PCs would realize that killing the drow would stop the demons. But instead, I rolled many, many 1's against him.

So I started going after the strikers instead. Got them down to 1 and 2 hit points a couple of times-- very close! I like it when the encounter is a "squeaker" and the PCs just don't know if they're going to make it!

They had slain one of the drow, and all but 2 minions. The remaining drow had 8 hit points left, and grabbed the avenger in his scourge.

The PCs spent multiple actions to try and get the avenger out of the stinging scourge, from a failed bull rush to pouring a potion of healing down his throat just so he'd survive one more round!

The remaining drow was up. The avenger was down to 4 hit points. The barbarian was down to 6. Eeeny meeny miney-- oh, wait. The barbarian is on Team Drow. Sorry, avenger-- I've got an alliance I'm not supposed to break.

Snap. The scourge lashes out.

20.

The avenger player looks over at me "Well, I'm dead!"

"Yep. Timothy leaps over, his mouth opening wide as he swallows both you and himself, folding inward into the Abyss. He has a new plaything for all eternity...."

I was about to call the encounter at that point, since the drow was on his last legs and we were over time, but the next PC rolled a 1 against the drow, and then the demons took their turn-- the bad guy's demon first. Could I do it? Could I pull two PCs into hell?

As it turns out, I could not, rolling poorly, and the drow's demon was unsuccessful in slaying our barbarian. The PCs' demons mopped up, the minions surrendered, and everyone cheered our fallen hero (who got the Moment of Greatness and his 60-point card as a result).

What gratified me about last night's game is that the PC would not have been yanked into hell if he hadn't summoned the demon, because he would simply have been dropped to negative hp and the party could have healed him. If he'd stayed true to his holy purpose, he would have lived.


And that, my friends, is what victory looks like to this storyteller. It is not the character's death that makes me smile. It is the character choosing to betray everything he stands for, in exchange for power and glory that makes my heart sing! 

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank my players for helping create such a fantastic scene last night. In particular, Tony who played Lance the Avenger, now lost to us for the ages (until I need a damned soul to make an appearance!) He was a great sport about it, and we're looking forward to deciding how he will participate in the final two encounters of the season.

@mortaine
I wish I had thought about letting the PCs summon their own demons. Good on you for allowing it. The real challenge we had was that the PCs got pinned down early so they never even made it in to the theater part of the map. So even if I’d planned for the eventuality that they tried to summon their own demon they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do it.

Visit Dungeon's Master.com – The D&D Resource Blog For DMs and Players.
http://dungeonsmaster.com
Follow me on Twitter @ameron_dm

As an FYI for those who read this forum regularly, I sent an email to the WotC_Trevor earlier this week asking him to create a season 10 forum. I expect the new materials will be available soon (likely by next week) and we’ll want to start talking about season 10 immediately. I remember there was a delay getting the season 9 forum up so I thought it best to make the request early.

Visit Dungeon's Master.com – The D&D Resource Blog For DMs and Players.
http://dungeonsmaster.com
Follow me on Twitter @ameron_dm

Well done, sir.  Well done.
@mortaine

I wish I had thought about letting the PCs summon their own demons. Good on you for allowing it.



I wouldn't have allowed it for non-evil PCs, but almost all of these characters have bound themselves to evil forces anyway.

As an FYI for those who read this forum regularly, I sent an email to the WotC_Trevor earlier this week asking him to create a season 10 forum. I expect the new materials will be available soon (likely by next week) and we’ll want to start talking about season 10 immediately. I remember there was a delay getting the season 9 forum up so I thought it best to make the request early.




From the August in the Works column:

Rise of the Underdark: Step Into Shadow


You also have just a few weeks left to participate in the drow puzzle hunt. Each week, three clues are provided on the website (in one of the Daily D&D spotlight boxes), through the D&D Facebook page, and on the D&D Twitter channel. Enter the answers to those clues, and—assuming you’ve answered them correctly—you’ll unlock knowledge about the drow and their nefarious schemes, as well as special preview content.


In recent weeks, these previews have included the following:



  • July 25th: D&D Encounters: Council of Spiders cover art and introduction.


Have any of you been able to answer all the questions and gain access to the Introduction to next season? It would be really nice to see that.
- Rico
Main session 11 highlights from my group:
1. The kobold thief hid in one of the blood pools, splashing out if it two turns later, Jason Voorhees-style, to score a backstab on a drow torturer. He rolled a 19, so the blood pool made it a crit!
2. The hexblade rolled to identify the maw demons, resulting in knowing that a maw demon would take a killed summoner to the Abyss with it.
3. The last enemies standing were a drow torturer and her maw demon. She still held the pendant of Ashaba when she died, so I spent a turn describing the maw demon's brutal claiming of her. I offered skill checks for adjacent PCs to try and snztch the pendant before the drow was pulled into the Abyss, but all failed.
4. The group's ranger saved the day by spending an action point to run over and grab the pendant in a last- ditch effort, mere seconds before the drow was gone.
I had a party of three characters, two rangers and a wizard. The monsters did little to annoy the PC's, as standing on the far ledges and lobbing missles at them worked well. I didn't understand the 20ft trench with 10ft of bodies, and was only 5ft to climb out of?
I had a party of three characters, two rangers and a wizard. The monsters did little to annoy the PC's, as standing on the far ledges and lobbing missles at them worked well. I didn't understand the 20ft trench with 10ft of bodies, and was only 5ft to climb out of?


That's pretty much exactly what happened with my party, and I too had trouble making sense of the the pit and the berm, etc.
- Rico
I wasted three or four minutes of game time, trying to reconcile the written adventure with the printed map.

I gave up, told the players something that made sense to me, and we went with it.
Our session 11 write up vobeskhan.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/web-o...

my players quite enjoyed the mass carnage of this one after the recent batch of skill challenges.

"Well that encounter was easy....er, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

Follow me on Twitter @Vobeskhan or check out my blog http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/

Session 11. Torture Theater

9 EXCITING PICTURES!!!  www.meetup.com/pasadena-dnd/photos/99810...

Enemies:
2x Drow Razorscourges
3x Maw Demons
8x Angry Drow spectators
(4x Human victims)

Characters
23 RUBY (Female Human Rogue):
22 VARIS: (Male 1/2 Elf Ranger):
22 CALISI PHAER: (Female Drow Wizard):
11 KRYSTALLINE: (Female Elf Paladin):
6 SOLVENOR: (Male Deep Gnome Warpriest)

The characters find the torture theater with a session in progress. They decide against taking a short rest so that they can save a human victim. They are attacked by 2 whip wielding Drow female torturers. Angered by the delay, Drow spectators join the fray. An encounter ensues.

ROUND 1:
23 RUBY (Female Human Rogue):
I delay then Varis goes in. Then I move forward and launch a 21 damage backstab enhanced shot from my bow at naked girl. We step into a crowd of damn snipers and I get hit for 6 damage and I’m poisoned. This is no longer fun. I get healed by Krystallene.
22 VARIS: (Male 1/2 Elf Ranger):
Rush up to try to help Dog Breath, try an athletics to get up to him – pass with flying colors. Try to free him with another athletics check that I fail. Some Drow swings some critter at me, but misses. Another attacks with a whip and I go down.
22 CALISI PHAER: (Female Drow Wizard):
Attacked 2 female Drow with arc lightning. Crit the Drow (wearing pink) for max damage (bloodied the creature). The Drow wearing blue took 8 pts of damage. Then I was attacked! Took 2 damage from 1 dumb Drow spectator – ongoing damage save ends.
11 KRYSTALLINE: (Female Elf Paladin):
Used a minor to “restore vitality” on Gina, also used a second minor for “spirit of sacrifice” on Varis.
6 SOLVENOR: (Male Deep Gnome Warpriest)
Attempted to save prisoner – failed!

ROUND 2:
23 RUBY (Female Human Rogue):
I fore off a shot at 19 damage at a demon. I pull out my invisibility potion and poof. I fail a savings throw and take 4 damage! Healer gives me 5 temps and a savings throw – pass!
22 VARIS: (Male 1/2 Elf Ranger):
Get up, escape, having to do it 2x,then I do insidious commentary on one of the demons and it succeeds. Get whipped again. You’d almost think they’re sweet on me! Took another 13 points of damage and I am grabbed again.
22 CALISI PHAER: (Female Drow Wizard):
Took ongoing damage of 4. Used focused charge to charge and ignore difficult terrain. Attacked with burning hands – missed 3 creatures and hit 2. One maw demon took 12 points of damage. Eleska took 9 pts of damage and Calisi put up her cloud of darkness. Calisi missed her savings throw – still ongoing damage!
11 KRYSTALLINE: (Female Elf Paladin):
Used movement to fail an athletics check. Used a standard to move to get Varis in range of my Defender Aura. The enemies who attacked me all missed except one who got me for 4. I used my righteous shield to save Varis from going down! (he was at 1 hp and I took 17). Varis used “practiced herald” to give us +1 to attack / damage.
6 SOLVENOR: (Male Deep Gnome Warpriest)
Attacked by Drow lady – she missed / Healed Varis – Praise Pelor! Attacked drow lady for 7 damage with sunburst – gave my allies 5 temps and savings throws – healed Varis! Pelor is Good!

ROUND 3:
23 RUBY (Female Human Rogue):
I run up the wall and charm one of the girls using my heroic effort (ego took a hit though). I force her to make an attack against the demon and she misses and saves domination. The demon and one of the minions misses me.
I run up the wall and charm one of the girls
22 VARIS: (Male 1/2 Elf Ranger):
Escape, try to attack while prone, but that doesn’t work. Use practiced herald power to boost my allies. Demon moves away and I try an opportunity attack and miss.
22 CALISI PHAER: (Female Drow Wizard):
Attacked with shock sphere. Killed 5 minions – Whoo Hoo!!. Missed 5 targets. Teleported 5 squares away using “blink of an eye.” Attacked by Eleska. She did not gain combat advantage. She hit me with a deadly power “Ensnarled something” – 16 points of damage! Calisi is 1 point away from unconsciousness! Next turn Calisi will take 10 ongoing damage! An ugly creature then shifted and flanked Calisi. Attacked and hit for 12 pts of damage. Calisi went down and is one step away from death. Healed by our cleric for 9 points!
11 KRYSTALLINE: (Female Elf Paladin):
Used strike of hope to give Varis 8 temps and to kill a minion. Used an action point to move into range where the minion was. Killed Yedreveth the Cruel with that action!
6 SOLVENOR: (Male Deep Gnome Warpriest)
Two minions attacked me and missed. Used cure light wounds on Calisi – she is healed! Pelor Shines on Us!

ROUND 4:
23 RUBY (Female Human Rogue):
I tumble out of the way, kill a minion and action point to save a… uh… thing. s/he gives me a kiss.
22 VARIS: (Male 1/2 Elf Ranger):
Get up. Swing at minion. Miss. Shift down toward Calisi.
22 CALISI PHAER: (Female Drow Wizard):
Calisi went back down – took 10 ongoing damage! Missed death savings throw! Cleric revives Calisi by triggering her second wind.
11 KRYSTALLINE: (Female Elf Paladin):
I moved to the other whip girl and 3 opportunity attacks all missed me. I used strike of hope to hit her for 17 and give 8 more temps to Varis.
6 SOLVENOR: (Male Deep Gnome Warpriest)
Lady Drow missed me with evil chain of sorrow minion attacked me and caused 4 hp damage. Heal checked Calisi into her second wind.

ROUND 5:
23 RUBY (Female Human Rogue):
Unlock another lock because the Paladin insulted me and move forward. Two minions rush up and attack me and miss.
22 VARIS: (Male 1/2 Elf Ranger):
Strike at Drow – finally doing some damage and I killed the Drow wench! Hell yeah!
22 CALISI PHAER: (Female Drow Wizard):
Calisi crawls away and attacks 2 creatures – 1 hit and dies. Then Calisi uses “great confidence” go give 5 temps to herself.
11 KRYSTALLINE: (Female Elf Paladin):
Used a movement to get up cliff. Failed athletics check and used action to go up.
6 SOLVENOR: (Male Deep Gnome Warpriest)
Moved back toward prisoners.

ROUND 6:
23 RUBY (Female Human Rogue):
I shift back and execute a minion.
22 VARIS: (Male 1/2 Elf Ranger):
Try to get up slope. Attack and miss.
22 CALISI PHAER: (Female Drow Wizard):
Calisi attacked 1 minion with magic missle.
11 KRYSTALLINE: (Female Elf Paladin):
Freed human captive Dog Breath!
6 SOLVENOR: (Male Deep Gnome Warpriest)
Freed pig butcher captive! Praise be to Pelor!

~END~