Session 4 Field Report

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Field report for D&D Encounters: Against the Cult of Chaos (Week 4) now available at Dungeon's

The PCs spent about 2 hours exploring Hommel Lane and interacting with numerous NPCs. After finally getting the magic phrase for the lower level of the Moat House they decided not to head back there this week. Instead they chose to spend a night partying at the Golden Grain Inn. After competing in the bar games they got ambushed while exploring the cellar.

We discuss the ups and downs, what worked and what didn’t in this week’s Recounting Encounters Podcast (also available through iTunes).

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Last week, my table ran through the Temple of the Lawgiver encounter, jumped through the portals, and finished off the Reptile God, doing one-and-a-half encounters in one week. This week. they escaped the caves, found out about the Moat House, and caught Enda Yate after finishing off the bandits, which was again one-and-a-half encounters.

They have learned about Lareth from Enda, but they need to find out the magic phrase. I suspect they'll go back to Hommel Lane to deal with the traders before doing the Dungeon encounter; with them being slightly ahead, it gives me time to let them explore more of Hommel Lane without worrying about sticking to a timetable. Since they're doing it in D&D Next, the combats take a lot less time!

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TiaNadiezja wrote:

both my groups tackled the caves this week and the hordes of minions there-in.

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

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

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  My group did back to back sessions again. Last time they explored the upper level of the moathouse and came back looking for a password. They fought the corrupt trading post women and counter-bribed the constable to keep them all locked up. They then slept off the night. Today started with an exploration of the town to find some new leads before going back to the moathouse. They were warned about the inn so they went to explore all the inns again. They first went to the burnt down one and found a cellar door. Going down led to a creepy cellar full of ashes, vinegar wine, and tools. The minotaur barbarian did a search check and found that the supply closet had lots of rat tunnels in it. The bladesinger unlocked the one exit door and startled four bullywugs in a tunnel. The party mostly went before the bullywugs so two died before they even had the opportunity to be surprised. The essentials paladin locked one of them down and three characters swarmed the other. At the start of round two I had an elite rat swarm emerge from the supply closet (almost used carrion crawlers instead) and engage the ranged essentials thief in the back. The thief got hit and then tricked his way into the bulk of the group. In round two both bullywugs went down and then they had to deal with the swarm. One contention that I had was whether the bladesingers secondary attack (which is ranged) would push the swarm. I did not allow it because it was stated as ranged. The party eventually weeded it down.
  I allowed the group to make dungeoneering checks to see where the tunnels went as they traversed north. They needed 4 successes to get a specific building but they only got three so I gave them a small vicinity. The players strongly believed that they were under the carpenter's shop when they came upon a large steel door (one way). They searched and searched but couldn't find the way in. Just as they were about to go topside again, the bladesinger decided to pour his alchemist acid (found in the moathouse) onto the door where the hinges would be on the other side. I allowed this and then the minotaur ripped the one way door off its hinges surprising the two bullywugs, one bandit, and three goons inside the little teeny room. One bullywug got into the hallway but the fight was pretty much one sided with the spacing issue. When the bandit went I free actioned him yelling for Bertram which no one in the party remembered was the name of the innkeeper (they still thought carpenter shop.)
  Once that small fight was over some of them started searching the room. The bladesinger reminded them that the one had called for reinforcements. He rolled a perception check and got over a 20 hearing movement behind the wall. The minotaur right next to the wall rolled too and heard something being moved. On his turn the minotaur struck the wall with his warhammer shattering the wooden wall (making a hole but not enough to go through). Since we were still in the encounter the other bandit (Bertrem) and the minions went. They lit sacks of flour on fire and threw them toward the hole in the wall that had the minotaur and the paladin on the other side. Out of three burning sack attacks one hit the minotaur for d8+4 damage and dazed him (save ends.) The party then proceeded to fire missiles and a well placed chilling sphere to kill all but one minion. The assassin struck from a corner and missed the paladin. On his next turn the minotaur searched for a switch for the wall and told the party where it is. The door was opened and the battle slightly moved into the main room where Bertrem was almost dead, a minion was healthy, and the assassin was healthy. Once again the multiple auras from the paladin and barbarian made it nearly impossible for enemy movement but the assasin took the hit and moved into flank with Bertrem and crit the bladesinger. The paladin gracefully took the damage but the bladesinger still had the ongoing 5 damage. Our runepriest quickly used one of his powers to give all adjacent allies resist 5 damage negating that. The fight quickly ended with the assasin and Bertram taken to the constable.
  Once they returned from the constanble I allowed the party to do an impromptu skill challenge to knock down the support beams in the tunnel by the liveable inn to make the tunnel collapse. They achieved that goal and then went over to the burned inn and went the other direction. They again made dungeoneering rolls and knew they were directly beneath the church but another steel door blocked their way. Having no more acid, they had to go topside and enter the church. The naive priestess met them at the door and escorted them to Sir Moonbrook only to discover a mutilated corpse and a note that read talk backw ...  It was too obvious what it meant. They found the stairs down to the cellar and that is where their easy day of adventuring came to an end.
  The party found two priests kneeling in front of snake altars and a toad like humanoid standing by one of the priests. Priestess Devi stepped forward and begged for their help in combating evil swamp creatures that had invaded the church. No one believed her so she sent the human servant through the altar after mumbling some words. I gave the first three characters in the room or just up the stairs ten seconds of game time to tell me what they wanted to do. None of them bothered to recall that the human MUMBLED something before he stepped in so no perception. The paladin then engaged the nearest priest by moving up to it inciting an opportunity attack. He got hit and suffered minimal necrotic damage but more importantly a healing surge. I then switched the piece from a priest piece to a wight and did the same with the other. The barbarian chased the priest around the corner and used an attack on it damaging her. The priestess went calling an ally out as a minor action and buffing it. NOTE: I changed her allies from three leaper bullywugs to 2 leapers and 2 brutes from the previous encounter due to six players and having variety in the enemies. The priestess then stabbed the barbarian with her dark dagger and slid him to the cell with one of the brute bullywugs in it. The one in the cell went and knocked the barbarian prone. The other one charged the prone barbarian and darn near crit him putting him at -10 hp. The party mage used fountain of flame to put up a blockade near the end of the hallway by the cells but it didn't stop the movement. The party moved over to take on the priestess leaving the paladin to fight the wight by himself. That was a bad call because the player incited an opp attack to move past it and lost another surge. He then, two turns later, got hit again and got critted. I ruled that it would double the surge loss (3 now for the paladin.) The priestess was down to 3 hp but the group suddenly left her alone allowing her to go around a corner and hide behind a leaper bullywug. She survived three more rounds lauching her snake attack and her ranged attack with success plus she reactivated her ally buff power. Both of the wights used their face tearing power in the same round. One of them hit pushing the pc's into the center hallway and then the other one blasted more of them. The power doesn't do a lot of damage but it did bloody three of them and forced another push. Eventually one of the wights dropped and the other one raised it. One round later the newly raised one recharged its face power and tried to get into a position to use it again. If it would have hit four of the six party members would have dropped due to the spellplagued supercharge card active on the table that gives an extra 5 psychic and fire damage. The paladin rolled low but used heroic effort to hit it and kill it dead DEAD before it could attack. With half the party dying, the party finally managed to win the day but the thief lost 2 surges from the wights, the runepriest/warlord lost 1, the paladin lost FIVE surges and had to burn 3 of his own so he ended the night with 2 surges left. The barbarian lost only three due to majestic word use, second wind, and a runepriest daily. It was a brutal fight.
  To mop up, they searched the bookshelves and found 2 potions of holy water and 2 healing potions which they gave one to the dying barbarian. They freed two cells full of villagers who informed them that just 30 minutes ago some prisoners went through the portal. They read the prayer backwards but I warned them that if they entered they would not get a short rest so they ended in the church basement doing a short rest.
  To reiterate the severity of this fight: the barbarian dropped from two hard hits and was reduced to 2 shy of negative bloodied. I forgot about the extra 5 poison or he would have died. The paladin at one time was reduced to 2 from bloodied near the end of the fight and also lost 5 surges from the wights alone. The bladesinger was 5 from dead at one point near the end of the fight. Even with all that carnage a good time was had.
  Next week we play again due to my being gone the week of Easter and the week after.
I posted my party's tale of adventure on my blog.

While the other 2 tables were slogging through wave after wave of enemies, we were out of the caves in 3 rounds. We're not heroes-- we're a goblin, an old lady, a pixie, and a warrior. Ok, maybe the warrior is a hero. But we got the job done anyway. 

Plus, we finished off our adventuring with pancakes! Who doesn't love pancakes? 
I posted my party's tale of adventure on my blog.

While the other 2 tables were slogging through wave after wave of enemies, we were out of the caves in 3 rounds. We're not heroes-- we're a goblin, an old lady, a pixie, and a warrior. Ok, maybe the warrior is a hero. But we got the job done anyway. 

Plus, we finished off our adventuring with pancakes! Who doesn't love pancakes? 

Haffron Hommel LOVES pancakes.
I'll keep that in mind, and maybe bring him some next time I visit the caves of chaos.

Oh, wait-- that's never gonna happen! Have you seen that place? Swarming with goblins, I tell ya-- and I should know!
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