Cast of Characters
Shaun - Lanstaf the Realmstrider, Male Human Wizard
Ed - Adrik Flamebeard, Male Dwarf Fighter
Pete - Erdan Woodsinger, Male Elf Ranger
Liz - Finduiloth of Winterhaven, Female Half-Elf Cleric of Avandra
David - Ulmo Brownbottle, Male Halfling Rogue
In our last session summary, I posted what essentially turned out to be a schedule for what the characters did and when they did it, without really going into much detail. As a result, I've become much more attentive to the amount of time that the PCs are spending in the Dungeon or out of it and have scoured the libraries of the internet for information on better ways of tracking IGT1.
What I've found is basically series of "segments", "rounds", and "turns". These terms are all familiar to me from AD&D but, considering I was only twelve when learning to play that game, I could stand a refresher. Anyway, I've broken up non-combat into a "turn" of 6 minutes (10 per hour) in which the characters explore, but no combat occurs. Using this estimation makes things much easier for me. Short rests take up a turn. Exploring a corridor while searching for traps takes a turn. A torch burns for 10 turns.
And, so, with this new metric in mind, we pick up where our last session left off, with the PCs on the first dungeon level of the Keep on the Shadowfell, at about 1:30 in the afternoon, in the torture chamber with Splug the Questionable Goblin.
Rat and Ochre Jelly with a Baseball Bat
After interrogating Splug (and getting very little information apart from the first 4 areas) the heroes decided to let the goblin accompany them as long as he promised to behave (they're not the shrewdest of adventurers). This took up 3 turns. They headed over to Area 9: The Maze of Caves, and Splug was very reluctant to go in, not knowing exactly what was there but knowing that he had been warned time and again to stay away by Balgron. The heroes each lit a torch, and gave one to Splug as well (that's six torches used, expire in 10 turns) and ended turn 4.
I gave the heroes a full turn to explore Area 9 before the rats began to attack. This terrified the heroes at first, Liz being particularly creeped out by rats (though Pete's skin was crawling as I described the feel of their tiny claws pressing against his character's head and neck, as they curiously sniffed his ears just before attacking) but they managed to hero-up and defeat the rats (Splug even helped, using his torch to burn rats that had attached themselves to a hero). While this was going on, the Ochre Jelly tried to pick off the closest PC (Lanstaf) with it's Flowing Form ability and it's Slam attack.
Now, Shaun, Ed, and Pete are all seasoned D&D players from previous editions, though they know little about 4e. So, as soon as they saw it was an Ochre Jelly, they scoffed and attempted to set it on fire with their torches, thinking they had outwitted their old DM. However, the Ochre Jelly, apparently, doesn't work that way anymore and it began to whip their ****.
Healing surges were used sparingly, though Finduiloth used up her encounter healing which consumed a couple of surges. The Ochre Jelly, after having split in twain, was finally finished off by the 9th round of combat, and the heroes were still in decent shape. Most of their Daily's were still available, the PCs subsisting on their Encounter/At-Wills until they're closer to eligibility for a rest. I decided the rest of turn 6 would make up a Short Rest, and the heroes searched Area 9 thoroughly (another 2 turns) and discovered the secret chamber with Balgron's supplies. They loaded Splug down with these, who was glad to be in charge of the ale, and moved on to Area 11: The Water Cave.
Blue Slime Blues
Entering Area 11 began turn 9 (the 5th turn since lighting their torches) and nearly ended the party. They searched around the edge of the water for about a turn and then Ulmo, being brave and foolhardy, took a sunrod from Splug's pack and handed over his torch. He decided to swim over to the island and see what was there. That's when the Blue Slime attacked. The splashing of water put the torches out, leaving the party in utter darkness until Lanstaf was able to cast his light cantrip.
By that time, the Blue Slime had already began grappling with Ulmo, trying to drown him, while using its acid attacks to melt through his armor. The heroes tried to fight it with their Encounter/At-Wills but just couldn't do a whole lot. Once all of their Encounter powers were gone and the thing wasn't even Bloodied they realized that they'd have to either use their Dailies or retreat.
This was the last straw of the day. They used up their Dailies, and managed to kill the beast, but it left them drained. They were all Bloodied, out of surges, out of Dailies, and Erdan (Pete's character) had used up all of his arrows and lay unconscious on the cave floor. After stabilizing the elf, the heroes took their rest (the remainder of turn 10), and decided to head back to the surface to recover and reassess their strategies. It was now about 2:30.
Back to Base
As mentioned earlier, the PCs created a safe area in one of the abandoned Gate Houses of the Keep, bolstering its defenses with the Silence and Eye of Alarm Rituals. I allowed them to go ahead and level up to 3rd, and they decided to go ahead and take an Extended Rest at the earliest possible time, which would be 4 hours later, at 6:30 (ER from 6:30 pm to 2:30 am, minimum).
The rest of the session was spent dividing treasure, updating character sheets, and complaining that Ochre Jelly was no longer weak against fire attacks.
1: IGT stands for In-Game Time