Yesterday saw us attending the fifth instalment of the Lair Assault series (and second to be a feature of the Rise of the Underdark special event) up at Mondo Comico in Nottingham. This will contain spoilers!
An elf wizard has built a construct with a single purpose: the destruction of the drow. This discovery has led the drow houses of Menzoberranzan to forge an alliance and send a “murder squad” to kill the wizard and destroy his sinister creation.
Forty years ago, a raiding party of drow emerged from the Lurkwood and slaughtered the inhabitants of Silvershore, a village in the Valley of Khedrun. A sole survivor—a young elf with an aptitude for the arcane—escaped the carnage, and born within him was a hatred for drow that he would carry the rest of his days. Four decades later, this elf matured into a wizard of no small power and built the prototype of a new construct he hopes to mass-produce and release into the Underdark, with the sole intent of devouring drow.
The wizard, Etherik, is preparing to show off his construct to gain the full support of his peers, several of whom have arrived via magic portal to see the device for the first time. With their help, Etherik plans to build many more of them and release the constructs into the city of Menzoberranzan.
News of the wizard’s wicked machine reached Menzoberranzan quickly. The drow houses consider the elf a common threat and have banded together to take him out, unaware that their “murder squad” (which consists of drow from multiple houses) will be used to test the construct’s destructive power.
The goal for this assault is to kill Etherik and destroy his drowslayer construct. Best of luck! Though of course, it won’t be easy . . .
This was the brief we had been given, along with the character creation guidelines of 8th level pc’s of Drow or Drow Revenant origin to form the murder squad (following the normal Lair Assault rules which I wont repeat here – go check out the WotC page for details). I decided to take a levelled up version of my Encounters pc, the Drow Priestess, knowing that at least some healing may be needed (especially for myself!). We had been informed that there may well be enough players to run 2 tables on the day so now guarantee of who would be on which team.
Arriving in the store early I had the opportunity to chat to David (the store owner and one of the prospective DM’s) while awaiting the others arrival. As it turned out we had 6 players (including myself) and both DM’s turn up, so ran with just 1 table which Glenn DM’d for us. The rest of the party consisted mainly of my Encounters players that had made the journey up plus Jay, a wickedly funny young lady that I had gamed with previously. Once everyone was ready and hadbeen introduced (both in and out of character) the party we had assembled was as follows:-
- Myself, playing Drow WarPriestess of Domination
- Robert, playing Drow Dark Pact Hexblade
- Jay, playing Drow Greatsword Fighter
- Simon, playing Drow Fey Pact Hexblade
- Matt, playing Drow Hunter
- Daniel, playing Drow Blackguard
We approached the wizards abode under cover of night, Robert and Jay scouted for any other entrances to the main door before us as Matt investigated one of the stained-glass windows. I hung back as the most of the party congregated around the front door and Daniel (true to form) kicked it open without checking for traps of any kind! Sure enough the door blasted nearby pc’s with a force attack as Matt snuck in the side window he had opened.
Inside the house the pc’s met a pair of fire-breathing iron defenders, and the most annoying elf apprentice mage whose attacks caused both her and her target to teleport each time. The main problem was that she’d also activated a defense mechanism that spread gas throughout the house which slowed, then weakened you before putting you to sleep! She also had a dominate ability which she used to make Daniel hit Robert – and then he crit’d him! This was not a good start for Robert as shortly after he succumbed to the gas and spent several rounds sleeping while we dispatched the metal dogs and chased the elf around the house. During which I let my spiderling feast on Jay, causing her to spend a healing surge but instead of her getting the healing I gained it as temporary hp .
Finally we reached the basement via the magical teleport properties of the upper doors, only to be seperated and dispersed around the complex. Simon and Jay appeared in a room with 2 Barlgura and an Owlbear, though Simon’s first action was to tell one of the demon-apes to f@!k off, which it did! Unfortunately the remaining pair of monsters were able to spend the next few rounds just pounding on the pair of pc’s. Robert and Matt appeared in a room containing a flesh golem made of drow parts that quickly dropped Robert into unconsciousness, though Robert amazingly kept making stable death saves and Matt led the golem on a game of hide and seek. Daniel appeared in a store room adjacent to the room I appeared in which appeared to be a cultivated mushroom grove. As he moved to my area a Black Pudding oozed under the other door, swiped the pair of us and promptly oozed back. We followed it into some sort of workshop where it continued to move away under the next door, and I found the plans for constructing the wizards drow-slayer construct (quickly pocketing them as this was my house goal) and Daniel found a crystallised drow skull on a book shelf.
The next door led into a room with cages where Matt was dodging the flesh golem and the pudding decided to stop running as Daniel opened the door. Realising that these 2 fine warriors had the situation in hand I moved back to the storeroom Daniel started in, removing one of the numerous everburning torches from its sconce and removing the stopper from the large barrel of oil sat in its rack before moving to the far door. Once there was a sufficient layer of oil on the floor I stepped through the door, threw the torch to the far side of the room and quickly closed the door as I heard a satisfying “whump” of ignition.
Despite the owlbear getting dropped by the pc’s cpmbined assault, it and the remaining barlgura had also put Jay down. As the barlgura moved to continue attacking Simon and myself Matt struck from hiding and skewered the beast with his pinpoint archery. I used my remaining healing potion to bring her back to the land of the living as we moved up towards a mysterious blue portal at the far end of the complex. As Jay ran through it Simon saw the construct approach and was first to feel its wrath.
Unfortunately time was no longer on our side as we realised it was after 5pm and most of us needed to travel back to Leicester. We knew we wouldnt be able to tackle the construct, its maker, 8 apprentices, flesh golem and black pudding with the 3 of us left (myself, Matt, and Daniel) so sadly admitted defeat.
As we packed away and thanked Glenn for running and David for hosting, we agreed that it was once again a brutal but fun adventure. Most of us said we would look forward to having another crack at it within the 3 month target period, and so headed off to our respective transport.
As I am running the adventure in Leicester soon I had a read through and there are some little changes to how it ran that I think need to be made. Although no rests are given (usual for Lair Assaults) it does call for a new initiative roll once the pc’s reach the basement, which to my mind signifies the beginning of a second encounter and thus the refreshing of encounter abilities. Without this I feel the basement is way too overpowered for even an optimised party. I also think the teleporting elf upstairs is overpowered too, with too many free actions which if used correctly will result in the party never being able to lay a finger on her. I think she should be either limited to a single free action per round (using a room power, activating gas, or teleporting) or that the teleporting should be at least a minor/move action instead. Otherwise the party will swiftly become dissilusioned spending hours of real time chasing her around the building fruitlessly.