ACT 1 IS COMPLETE! Interlude is finished and ready for a nice holiday break. Another week goes by, another new player for the table. After the holiday break I will definitely be running two tables. However, I had quite a big battle planned for tonight so I did 1 large table with 11 people. It went smoother than I expected given the amount of enemies that I threw out there and the number of PCs in play, made for a pretty epic fight. I actually managed to combine two of the interlude confrontations into one session, everyone had plenty of fun.
Players this week are:
- Drea – Orcling Barbarian
- Jason – Dwarf Cleric of War
- Rob – Dwarf Fighter
- Tony (new player) - ??? Ranger (think human)
- Rico – Woodelf Druid
- Brandon – Halfling Rogue
- Trevor – Highelf Evocationist
- Tom – Human Cleric of Flame
- Derek – Highelf Paladin
- Lee – Human Paladin
- Sean – Human Rogue
The session started off with me laying out some info that Baerick & the emissary gave up after spending a few days in captivity (this also gave an excuse for the party to rest up after the beatings they took on both fronts during the last session). Mostly painting the picture that there is the massive Black Ice prow in at Lac Dinneshere, and since the party is piecing together that Black Ice = Trouble I am hoping that they would be going there next. After the information was given out we moved outside where Helda was getting ready to head out to another one of the towns (just happens that she is going toward Lac Dinneshere first) for pick up some more wares to sell when she ventures back south after winter. The party gladly accepted her offer to continue to be her guard during the travels.
The group was readying the wagon for departure when a rather large group of humans came up squakin’ about how the future of Bryn Shander is already looking brighter since Speaker Gant took over. This surprised the group for a couple reason. First, when they left Bryn Shander about a week ago Duvessa was in change and she and Gant were working on trying to figure out who is ruining her name. Second, what was a group of nearly 40 humans doing in the dwarven valley, most with mining gear on? The party first asked about “Speaker Gant”, and the status of Bryn Shander in which the leader of the group of humans filled them in on the recent political happenings (all spun in a positive light for Gant). After that, the Bryn Shanderites(?) jumped directly into their offer to buy the mines. As you can guess, this did not sit well with any of the dwarves.
Flustered that the “townies” would even consider such a proposal sent Stokely into a stammering stuttering mess, flinging every dwarfish curse in the book (all in dwavish). As Stokely paced in frustration the party & Helda took up the rebuttal on behalf of the dwarves, which was an obvious “NO”. Seeing how they were not going to get much further with the negotiations the group from Bryn Shander was ready to leave when the Cleric of War started running his mouth and threatening the group to never come back or else it would mean their heads. Such an open threat made for a hostile environment. Not one to back down from the challenge, the appointed leader of the Bryn Shander miners came forward and started a rather heated argument. However, before it could come to open blows Tony, the new Ranger, offered a challenge of single combat to prevent a mass all out brawl. If Tony wins, the Bryn Shanderites are not to return to the Valley with discussions to buy the lands again, however if the Bryn Shanderite wins then Stokely will agree to come and discuss the offer, and only discuss, at a future date (the only reason they made this offer is because a quick glance shown that there should be no way that Tony should lose this fight). Seeing this as the best solution (and having no intention of keeping his word about not returning if he loses) the spokesperson for Bryn Shander agreed.
The two combatants took up their weapons while the onlookers formed a little schoolyard circle around them. Rob was quick to engage one of the miners in a small bet. A quick round ended in parries and misses for both warriors. With the start of the next round Jason opted to cast bless (and did not attempt to hide that he was casting a spell). The enemy landed a hit on Tony, but for minimal damage and Tony returned the favor with a near max damage hit, taking the enemy out in a single blow. Seeing a weakened opponent, Drea (orcling-barbarian) charged in took a single at the Bryn Shanderite only to get pushed aside by both Tony and the Bren Shanderite. Seeing the outside influence of the party member the surrounding members of the Bryn Shander group took up rocks and pelted both Jason and Drea demanding that they stop cheating.
Neither Drea nor Jason took kindly to this (Drea didn’t care that she interfered and Jason saw that he did no wrong (both ingame and in RL). With combat interrupted, both original combatants seethed their weapons and started to move toward the two that interfered only to see Drea take a swing and hit one of the miners and Jason charge another. Both Jason & Drea connected and a ruckus erupted, but it wasn’t a full on fight. Both Jason and Drea were quickly restrained by copious amounts of miners and then the miners agreed to leave however they were taking both Jason and Drea with them and placing them under arrest. At this point both Jason and Sean tried to speak to Jason’s innocence (neither getting that Jason was in the wrong) only to get pulled down to the carpet (in game) by the miners and the party about how he, a goodly priest of Moradin, would interfere with a legitimate one on one challenge. In the end, Jason agreed to go peacefully as long as he was given a fair trial (which he would surely lose) and was removed from the map but Drea broke free and mauled one of the miners while running back to the group and ending with a death of one. With that, chaos started to erupt and Tony laid a fog cloud over the miners. Jason still accepted his fate and the miners did not give chase, but swore they would be back to get the little ugly child.
As they were talking a few members picked up on the sounds of a faint drumming, Rico shapeshifted into a hawk to scout out what it could be. After a quick scan of the surrounding lands Rico discovered that there were a group of warriors (he could tell they were had weapons and were wearing furs but could not tell if they were hostile or not) coming from a mountain path toward the valley (nearly at it). With that, Rico found a tactical area to land and warned the group that they were going to have more visitors (about the same time as the Fog Cloud was laid). As the party turned around they could see the first few of the group of new visitors coming down the mountain trail, a few of the party members (Lee and Sean) headed off toward the newcomers while Brandon tried to find a place to hide (he didn’t like the feeling he was having in his gut). As Sean and Lee approached the warriors took aim with bow and javelin, only to miss. No false words were exchanged, only battle calls to Auril. Seeing that their new visitors were not the friendly type the group grabbed their weapons and headed to meet the new threat. Brandon went into the mines to navigate to the closer spot where he could sneak in behind them, sadly he was not familiar enough with the mines and failed all his navigation checks (2, 3, 4, 3 and a few other bad checks) effectively taking him out of the game by time he decided to turn around and was able to make it out of the mines.
At this point the party started to split up. Some members opted to stay by the fog cloud incase the miners came back, while the ranged moved behind some cover spots and Lee and Sean pressed further toward the attackers. As more attackers filed down the mountain path Trevor let a Fireball go (he has waited since MiBG to do this), connecting with 2 and singeing another 3. Two of the attackers started to cast spells of their own, one failed to connect with Trevor but another managed to place a Hold Person on Lee. Seeing the plumes of the fireball above the fog cloud Jason attempted to break free from his captors and actually succeeded getting back just in the nick of time. As the fight progressed Rico managed to find a spot along the ridge that allowed him to cast Plant Growth (I didn’t realize it was a ritual) leaving a small path for his teammates to get through and followed the next round up with Spike Growth. By me not checking out the wording behind Plant Growth made this a CRAZY combination that pretty much ended the threat of any more attackers joining and allowed for the range to pick the stuck attackers off with ease.
As the party was focusing on the attackers a giant skeletal dragon swooped down upon the ranged group and a mysterious lady appeared. Without warning the lady launched an ice spear into the group, not hitting anyone directly but connecting with splash damage. The dragon lashed out, barely missing one target with its jaws but successfully hitting Trevor and knocking him prone. With 2 deadly foes entering the fray the members who were guarding against the Bryn Shanders return now turned their attention to the dragon. The first few attempts to slay the beast were all made with ranged piercing weapons and had little chance of hitting the skeletal menace. However, as the party grew braver their attacks turned from ranged attacks to melee attacks, finally connecting and causing some damage. Derek opted to go for the lady instead of the dragon, landing 2 nasty hits followed by Trevor launching a scorching ray at her but only connecting with 1 of the rays.
At this point the group that was handling the raiders started wrapping up their targets thanks to some fantastic (yet not legit) field control. That portion of the party then turned their attention to the dragon and lady. The dragon kept shrugging off blows by the adventures and landed a nice claw and maw combo on the party. The lady, nearing the end of her stability, launched a massive ice spear (maximum level) at Derek, connecting for a whopping 40 points. In the end it was the adventures that prevailed over attackers. Tony managed to land a killing blow on the lady, causing her to shatter into snowflakes and while warning the adventures that this is not the end. And as the witch drifted away in the breeze the skeletal dragon crumbled to the ground.
As with all my combats (due to the size of the table) there was no time left to really go over what the outcome will be because of this and will be the first topic of conversation at our next meet up.
Thoughts: I really enjoyed this session. I liked how the group handled the group from Bryn Shander and I was really interested to see how they would handle trying to free two of them members. Sadly, those members were able to escape. On the plus side, it gives a nice plot point for those two to be hunted down by bounty hunters and make it so they are not welcome in Bryn Shander (they really didn’t oppose Gant and wanted to stay out of political affairs). It was fun to spread the party out, and nice to see more tactical spells in use to shape the battlefield to fit their needs. I felt that even with a beefed up Ice Witch she went down pretty fast. Of course, it didn’t help that Derek landed nearly ½ her effective HP (including the Ice Shield) in 1 hit. The spells she wielded were fun to use, and made the enemy feel powerful and deadly compared to the most the other enemies in play. I am really looking forward to the follow session, although I am not sure how I will handle future sessions with such a large table (luckily next session will be smaller since Jason, Lee & Drea at the minimum won’t be there).