Session 3 Field Report

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Report for table 3 of 4 @ Guardian Games...

Note: I am the back-up DM for the store so I have to prep the mod and thus have meta-knowledge of what is going on that the other players don't. I try to seperate what I know from what my character does.


DM: John U.

The Cast of Characters:
CE Female Drow Avenger (Pursuit) of House Melarn, House Priestess of Lolth (Me)
? Female Drow Cleric (Templar) of Bregan D'aerthe, Theme(?) of "Lolth" (really a cleric of Corellon)
Unaligned Female Drow Paladin (PH1) of Bregan D'aerthe, Theme(?) of ?
? Male Drow Wizard (Mage) of Bregan D'aerthe, Elderboy
? Male Drow Ranger (Hunter) of Bregan D'aerthe, Theme(?)

The combat wasn't as interesting as the backstabbing that went on after we secured IyeIle, traitorous priestess of House Faen Tabblar.

The Ranger and my Avenger attempted to sneak to the left to discover the lay of the battlefield, but or DM made us roll individually 3 separate times to sneak up and on the third attempt the Ranger rolled low. It would have been better if he had us do group checks instead, because eventually one of us was going to roll low even with +11 to stealth (and my PC benefiting from +2 from the Ranger's Ambush ability). Roll initiative.

Surprise, I won. I double move back to the middle opening (keeping behind a wall for cover and challenge the priestess and her 3 hobgoblin slaves) shouting out a challenge.

The cleric moves and charges the nearest hobgoblin and the battle is joined.

The fight was tough, my avenger slipped past the hobgoblins after the mage hit them with winged hoard (no OAs!) and used her oath on the priestess. I then missed with both attack rolls.

The ranger stayed at the arrow slits and shot at targets that presented themselves.

The Paladin and the Cleric took on two of the hobgoblins (the third broke off to deal with my avenger to help the priestess).

The mage was crucial to this fight. His daily dropped a zone that proned and mobilized the priestess and the hobgoblins. Winged hoard made the hobgoblin lines porous.

The enemy priestess hit me from range and beat me up pretty bad with ongoing 10 poison damage (I had resist 5 poison from my Ruby Medallion of Lolth), immobilized and weakened. This held me up for two rounds.

In the end the ranger killed the hobgoblin (after I softened it up), I knocked the priestess unconscious, the mage took care of another hobgoblin, and the final hobgoblin died under my avenger's blade when I hit it with two nat 20s as my oath of enmity target.

Why did I knock the priestess unconscious? Well I meta-gamed a little, but with a purpose. Normally my character should have killed her outright for being a traitor, but that would deny my fellow players an opportunity to complete their mission. First step I used the manacles and a sack over her head to keep her from attacking or escaping our "custody."

I then informed the rest of the party that I captured her to interrogate her. While the paladin and I attempted to get to passed the whispering wall, the mage manage to get the info from our prisoner that we should have got if we talked with her at the beginning of the fight. I was also able to explain (out of character) some of the background of why Lolth wanted the Demon Weave and what the Way of Lolth was.

We got through the barrier and then I played my true purpose for the priestess, I told the other players that I had saved the prisoner so I could consecrate the alter to Lolth with the traitor's blood. Stunned silence. The Bregan D'aerthe players suddenly remembered they needed the traitor alive to complete their mission.

Now, they had to credibly convince me to not kill her right then and there. It was a delicious role-playing moment.

The paladin convinced me that I would be denying my House Matron Mother the opportunity to publicly try and execute her back in the city. I agreed with her and I told her I would take "my prisoner" back to my house for a quick trial and public execution. More stunned silence.

I consecrate the alter to the Demon Weave with the unholy water and the ritual scroll.

We head back to the Menzoberranzan. The Bregan D'aerthe start getting desperate to keep the prisoner from going to trial until they can complete their mission.

They decide to gang up on me 4 to 1 and the Paladin makes me an offer I cannot refuse, threatening me with violence (My DM made this an opposed skill check, intimidate check vs. my Insight which I lost badly. Personally, I would have had the players hash it out in role playing instead).

So they basically told my House Noble that Bregan D'aerthe would "interrogate" the traitor and when they were done House Melarn could try and execute her when they were done with her. I ignored the opposed check and played along that I was beaten. I knew that I could not take on all 4 of the other PCs, they would kill me.

So, I bided my time and when we were close to Menzoberranzan I told the DM that I was going to assassinate the traitor and flee for my House compound. If House Melarn was not going to get the prisoner, then Bregan D'aerthe would not have her either.

DM randomly rolled to see who was on duty (damn, the  Ranger won, the one most likely to beat my stealth with perception... sunlight me). We roll off, I beat him by 1. DM rules I kill the prisoner but the ranger notices me do it but too late to stop it. I run.

The other players are now very pissed at my PC. All is right with the world, a member of House Melarn should be despised.

I talked with the players after the session and explained that I wanted them to have a chance to compete their House goal, because just killing her outright in combat would have been truer to my PC but no fun for anyone.

I also explained that by strong arming my PC led to me killing the traitor. I could not allow them to force me to back down from a challenge (I would lose worth and station in the eyes of my fellow drow). If they had instead made a softer play by convincing my PC to take the prisoner back to our leaders and let them decide the her fate is something my PC could agree to (and then the DM could rule that Bregan D'aerthe faction gets their way and complete the mission) which allows my PC to save face because it wasn't my character that "lost" the prisoner.

All in all, this was the most role-playing that I have experienced at the table of D&D Encounters. I am not sure my fellow players get the whole Drow intrigue thing yet. They are still acting like heroes. They should have killed my PC to make and blamed it on someone else. I think they might do that in the future.

Update: I did get a moment of greatness for my role-playing. They were not happy with my character but still like me, so far.

Happy Gaming,

Bryan Blumklotz
Playing at Guaridan Games, Portland OR

Well done! Sounds like an exciting evening of backstabbery!

At our table we never really ran into any conflict.  Nobody really cared when a wizard got something from the failed expedition.  

As soon as the traitor was bloodied I hit her with Life-Ending Strike and a little Furious Assualt for added measure (half-orc berserker, Bregan D'aerthe).  I declared it a knock out rather than killing blow before the die roll.  With 5d8+6 damage she didn't stand a chance.  I tied her up, search her, and declared her my prisoner.  No one said a word, other than I had to carry her back. 

When the two warpriestesses jumped forward to complete the ritual before anyone else entered the room, we were all like, go for it, that's what we came here for.

We had a good time, nobody died, several treachery cards were quite humerously thrown (several people went inexplicably prone at inopertune times, crits were stolen, etc) we finished the big mission, everyone finished their faction mission, everyone gained worth and the orc named Sue has a beautiful necklace of sverfneblin and hobgoblin ears and a super lovely floating lantern that he thinks is the best thing since ground meat.  "Look, I let go of it and it just stays up there, and look, look, I can make it move without touching it!"  

I guess we just see each other as helpful to completing our mission(s) and gaining worth more than someone to compete with at this point.  It has been a rather silent alliance.  But everything has gone pretty smooth so far...

And the DM has been tremendous!   


Our table was a fairly long drawn out conflict.

Priestess (War Priest) - Melarn
Warlord (Lazy Lord build) - Melarn
Assassin (Ninja) - Bregan D'aerth
Ranger (Original) - Bregan D'aerth
Paladin (Original) - Melarn
Slayer - Bregan D'aerth
Mage - Xorlarin

The party's ranger and wizard were able to fire from the arrow slits. So when the party's warlord was able to assist an assassin at getting past the main line of hobgoblins he was able to remove her from the conflict. (Wrapping her up with the Kusuri-gama and pinning it to the wall). At this point 2 of the hobgoblins were in single digit HP, but the other 2 had barely been touched.

At this point the Slayer declares that he's only interested in the priestess, and that the hobgoblins should get out of his way. With a great Diplomacy check, hobgoblins say she's already paid them so they're fine with just walking away.

This is going to be interesting...

Tense round as people shuffle around, before the hobgoblins are finally able to withdraw to the next room. At this point we step out of initiative, so the players can talk freely for a minute.

Mage blasts a magic missile at the priestess. As GM I'm not going to let a single player ruin something for everyone, so I set up a skill challenge on the back end to run this. (If the priestess reaches her negative bloodied value, or is hit by 3 lethal shots that reduce her below 0 she'll be dead). So the mage rolls his arcane, vs. the Slayers acrobatics and wins by a narrow margin. That was his surprise round, so everyone reroll initiative. To the sound of the Assassin shouting "10 gold if you kill the mage" opposed by the wizards shout of "30 gold to kill the traitor". Opposed checks (their choice of intimidate or diplomacy), mage wins so the hobgoblins just stay out for a full round debating(mage looks like he can handle killing her, and he's only 1 on the other 6 of the party).

The slayer picks up the traitor and takes off with her (Athletics check to be able to move normally as a standard, otherwise Slowed). The ranger is unsure of what to do here (player probably opposed to conflict), and just draws an arrow on the wizard as she steps back.

Mage hypnotizes the slayer to have him attack the priestess. Again Arcana vs. Insight wizard wins by a significant margin. But the slayer is unarmed, but still gets all his other bonuses on the damage (this is now 2 successes for the wizard). The paladin uses his lay on hands on the traitor bringing her conscious with some hit points.

The assassin has moved around finally, and is able to strike the wizard (half the hit points in the first shot). The warlord and the priestess are pretty much standing out of this, and are more focusing on the obsidian wall.

Slayer continues to move as best he can away (failing his athletics check, but succeeding when he uses his action point). Paladin goes to the hobgoblins and pays them a total of 80 gold to just walk away. Which they are happy enough to take.

Wizard moves up and is able to fire another magic missile at the traitor... But since she's got hit points from the heal, not enough to reduce her back below 0 for his last success. Ranger finally takes her shot, reducing wizard to 1 hit point.. Assassin comes running after him, reducing the wizard to within 1 hit point of his negative bloodied value...

End result, party taking a traitor, and a wizard back to the city in chains. The warlord and priestess are able to get to the alter, and since everyone else is watching each other very closely, and nursing wounds they are able to apply the unholy water without any disputes.


I hope everyone had fun with this session, it was by far the most stressful one I've done in all these seasons. It helps that the slayer and the mage are best friends, and as a DM I was just trying to make sure that neither side had an "I WIN" card. Both were working very hard to get their way and it wasn't until the final moments that it was decided. But if anyone has any suggestions on things to do for next session with this development I would be more than happy to accept them.

Always a GM, never a player (not really but sometimes feels like it).

Hex Grid UserPopcorn InitiativeAndroid UserD&DMapTools


One more thing... The mage was given his moment of greatness, especially when everyone found out that his house goal didn't actually involve killing the traitor. (There's usually another Xorlarrin in the party, and they were able to accomplish their mission with no one the wiser in the first session)

Always a GM, never a player (not really but sometimes feels like it).

Hex Grid UserPopcorn InitiativeAndroid UserD&DMapTools


It really was one of the best encounters we ever had at our table.  There was so much stuff that happened and some backstabbing  that added icing to the cake.

Hear everything that happened at Recounting Encounters as Derek Myers and I discuss our respective gaming tables from this week. Alton - @TwentyFoot 20ft Radius -

Due to a drop in numbers we had to meld our two 4th level groups into one this week. So rather than two tables of three players I ran a single table of 6 players (drow avenger, dwarf fighter, dragonborn paladin, human sentinal, vyrolka blackguard, and dragonborn hexblade), so I had levelled up the encounter accordingly (using the old off-line monster builder, and including Snut as neither group had encountered him last week. The bad guys consisted of Iryele (now lvl 7), 5 hobgoblin soldiers (now lvl 6, one on guard in the side room), snut (a lolthbound gobbo lvl 3) and a spider minion also in the side room (lvl 3).

(photos and captions here

The hexblade went alone to explore the side room, while the rest of the party surged forward. but the hobgob soldiers used their phalanx abilities perfectly keeping the party away from their mistress.

Only one hobgob falls to the heroes, the paladin goes unconscious but is raised, and after two and a half hours playing the avenger, blackguard and hexblade are heavily bloodied and all healing has been used.

The party decide as a group to abandon the quest and withdraw to Menzoberranzan empty handed.

My players really havent embraced the drowishness of this season, as mentioned in my own blog, and most refuse to play drow. But rather than let the encounters program fold (after it taking two years to get off the ground in my hometown) we made our concessions, unfortunately though I think this season is begining to definately raise a few of their hackles, which is a shame as I personally love drow and their conniving society.

"Well that encounter was, 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


Its a shame that the players don't want to play the adventure that is presented, its a lot of fun. My wife has taken over encounters from me as coordinator (I am too busy to run it, studying for the CPA exam) and when we talked about this season before it began she was stressing out. I told her, pardon the strong language, screw that.

She was worried that people were not going to want to play evil characters or chafe under the restrictions of only playing drow or limited slave races.

What was really stressing her was the thought that she and the other DMs were going to have to retool the adventure. Something she, I and the other DMs just don't have the time for.

So, we talked it out and here is what we decided.

1) We are not going to completely retool the adventure so a "normal" party of heroes can play. If the players want to play in that type of campaign they can start one of their own or wait until the next season of Encounters that is not set in "drow-land."

2) We will incentivize folks to play drow PCs. They already are the only ones that have a worth score, slaves are at the mercy of the drow PCs. We added a kicker that only drow PCs got the magic item card, ruby medallion of Lolth.

3) Normal adjustments for events that happen in the game are going to continue.

4) To keep things to a dull roar, we ask that DMs talk with the table before each adventure session to make sure they understand that PCs will work against each other so long as it doesn't compromise the overall mission.

5) We took the fail safe side bar about Lolth's intervention if the PCs go all out against each other and endanger Lolths will. This would allow us to calm things down if people were getting to personal.

Between my wife and myself we have run all 10 seasons of D&D Encounters. We have run it with just 2 tables a week and we have run it with 8 tables a week. Right now we have 4 full tables. However, we are more than willing to let our numbers drop down again.

Let's face it, we are volunteers. We spend a lot of our precious free time delivering a free play experience to folks. We maintain a website, print materials, make extras like table tents and faction stickers, maintain a DMs mail list, etc.

We do not have time to build an adventure to suit everyone. If we did we would be running our own campaign.

My two coppers,

Bryan Blumklotz
Player @ Guardian Games
Thanks Bryan,

Yeah I have told them that I've made enough concessions for them so far and no more. I saw the "Lolths intervention" piece you put up and have already decided to implement it.

As you say we put ourselves out to organise and run these free events, and I must admit I'd happily continue to do so even if only 1 player turned up. Having taken us 2 years to actually get a venue in Leicester (UK) to host us I'm not going to roll over and give in.

Hopefully most of the Enc's players will be at the Kill the Wizard game this weekend so I will have a word with them about things there.

The only down side has been numbers dropping from (at one point beginning last season) 14 players in an evening, down to 4-6, but hey ho, we soldier on. At the end of the day the program has introduced DnD (4E in particular) into the FLGS and given local gamers the opportunity to participate.

"Well that encounter was, 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

Good to hear it. I am glad you persevered in getting DDE set up in your location. I am very fortunate to have a large game store in a largish American city. We have had lots of support and a solid judge core that really make things happen. I understand that you have a smaller pool in which to select from.

If you need any resources, you can find a lot of stuff we have created here:

Good to hear it. I am glad you persevered in getting DDE set up in your location. I am very fortunate to have a large game store in a largish American city. We have had lots of support and a solid judge core that really make things happen. I understand that you have a smaller pool in which to select from.

If you need any resources, you can find a lot of stuff we have created here:


Many thanks Bryan. Smile

"Well that encounter was, 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

I don't know what this season's module is telling DMs to do, but the end of our session was a mess.
Secret objectives aside, my wizard explained to the group that executing the priestess was the safest way to go, as we were all males and it was her word against ours. A kobold opposed me, so I hypnotized him to slit her throat.
The DM montages how we all go back home and report our success... then strikes negative Worth our way for "striking a female" and "killing a priestess."
I tried to explain that those only apply to public/ verifiable acts, but I'm the only one in the group with the Menzoberranzan book.
Somehow, our priestess character started with 16 Worth, but my male , noble house Sorcere graduate started with -1. With Treachery cards, I got up to 5 worth, only to have the penalty assigned at the end of the session.
I'm showing up early next week with the Menzoberranzan book to offer up some education. I don't blame the DM; I suspect the season's module just does a poor job of explaining Worth.
Worth is done a little different in the module (there isn't a cap on the amount of worth you can gain from treachery cards for instance). If you want the Worth rules from the module, I have them up on our DDE website...

I haven't read hypnotism so I don't know if you can blank the kobolds memory with it, but if he retained his memory he could have ratted you out. Otherwise if there is no wintesses the only thing that will dock you worth is speaking ill or acting against Lolth (she and her spys are everywhere).

As for the priestess starting with 16 worth, it's not possible (see the starting worth notes at the link above). My priestess started with 11 worth (the max you can get) and has just made it to 17, had I not attacked the priestess I would be at 21 right now.

Bryan Blumklotz
negative Worth our way for "striking a female" and "killing a priestess." I tried to explain that those only apply to public/ verifiable acts

That's exactly how I explained it to my players and to the other DMs at my store (I too think I the only one with the Menzobarranzan book). Worth is your public standing, so only acts that are publicly known/verifable, can affect your worth. In the context of session 3, the only people who were there to witness it were the rest of the party, who all participated. So they're not going to tell anyone. Also, in the first session, when Ash'ala, Hoshtar, and Ro'klor gave the party their assignment, if the party asked what they should do if they encountered the other expedition, Ash'ala said, "Do as you wish. Only see that the ritual is properly performed." So I took that to mean that the party was given license (by a priestess) to kill any members (including other priestesses) of the other expedition.
- Rico
Yup, the module just doesn't explain Worth very well at all. IMO, we would have lost 3 Worth for showing the priestess mercy after she tried to kill us. None of us would have ratted each other out, either, as there would be no up-side to it. Technically, the kobold committed the murder, but my character clearly used magic to compel him. My character had the highest Worth of that group ( the priestess was not present in session 3), so a differing narrative wouldn't actually help any of us.

Technically speaking, commanding a slave to attack the priestess in encounter 3 is a legitimate way to avoid the concequences of attacking a drow female. As a drow you can order a slave to kill someone or you can kill them for disobeying. They only way the slave can avoid this fate is to have a drow from their faction countermand it.

Also remember a priestess can command anyone to do something and not to obey causes a loss of worth, unless those orders are countermanded by a higher status drow priestess (or one from your own house).

Things are complicated. As they should be.

This is where the other players at my table are not getting it. I am a priestess of House Melarn with the most worth in the party. However, we have two other PCs that qualify as priestesses and could overrule my orders to the 2 males of their faction. Then its a contest of worth and House status between the priestess.

Some table at my store completely embrace it, others are struggling.

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