Field Report Session 13: Where It All Began

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I nicknamed this session "Calling All Heroes". heh.

I had 11 people at my table! The other DM couldn't make it this week, and noone else was confident enough to take the reigns on the other table. Two paladins, two rangers, two thieves, a mage, a bladesinger, a swordmage, a warlock, and a warlord.

So, they hammered the shield around Seldra and the dragon, bringing it down fairly quickly. In the process, two characters (the Paladin and Swordmage) took damage and were pushed 2 and knocked prone. 

Seldra's initial blast, when the shield dropped, turned 16 bystanders into Plaguechanged Maniacs which immediately swarmed the PCs. Also, one character had only 10 hit points left from last session, because he only had 2 healing surges and decided not to use them. So, his turn was right after Seldra and he dropped, and was also turned into a Maniac. He didn't get to act at all, but he enjoyed the whole mechanic of becoming a plaguechanged maniac so that he didn't have to make death saves and could make attacks against the rest of the group.

The fire elementals and maniacs locked down the defenders (two paladins and swordmage) and locked down the thief for a bit. The dazed effect from Seldra's blast helped to preserve her for a bit, but as soon as the thief got to her, that was pretty much it... he hit her with combat advantage, did 30+ damage, then the warlord went, granting him a basic attack, so he did another 30+ damage, then the warlord action pointed and granted the thief another attack, which did another 20+ damage. So, that bloodied her. Then the one paladin attacked and action pointed, and ended up finishing her off. She didn't even get to her turn to drop some elementals to heal herself. Boo. 

The group voted on whether or not to keep her alive, and the "Alive" people won.  

The swordmage went over and picked up the crown, and was attacked by it... and it hit... so it should be interesting next session, if the group lets him keep it with him.  

Everyone is really looking forward to next week! The dragon fight is going to be EPIC... err... HEROIC!! ;) 
Oh dwarves. You incredible, crazy dwarves.

Our entire dwarf table was finally back together after several weeks of missing one or the other. Using the ramped up Seldra from the forums, our group took advantage of the free time and was able to get a set of +1 armor as well as some potions. The fight quickly grew into an all out brawl between maniacs, elementals, and Seldra all around the square. There was some back and forth, a lot of ongoing damage, dazing, slowing, and bonus damage galore.

The real fun came when the ranger finally dropped Seldra. He decided to not kill her because he and his best friend (in character, a dwarven paladin prince) wanted to have her tried for her crimes. The Devil's Pawn hunter and two hundred years older sentinel Harper Agent attempted to kill her. The invoker took some time between the two groups trading blows to determine for herself what to do (she attempted to kill Seldra in the end as well). The avenger however (the one with the noble theme) immediately grabbed the crown... and was dominated. The dwarves all want this to be an epic finish, and they know out of character that the in character fighting (yes - they are in the middle of an all out brawl - the paladin, ranger, and Seldra against the invoker, sentinel, and hunter against the dominated avenger) will likely result in the dragon awakening before they get a rest. They've blown their dailies, second winds, and most encounters. If nothing else, tonight was an amazing role play night and the final session will be mind blowing but I have a feeling that there will be a lot of dwarves dead by the end of the session.
If I might go behind the screen for a moment, the real trick in writing this encounter was wanting to keep the season fully accessible to new players every session--so basically, 1st level characters had to be capable of facing this encounter as well. Hence the reason for the fire elementals, which were never meant to be much of a threat (rather, a HP source for Seldra). If I could have listed this as an encounter level 2, I probably would have, but c'est la vie. It's really up to you as a DM to balance this appropriately for your heroes, and the majority of tables probably needed a little boost to the difficulty. (Hence the Important Notes thread.)

Anyway, at my table I used the empowered Seldra we created in the other thread, which terrified the heroes to no end. Ongoing 10 damage is rough, but the daze kicker on her burst was the real threat, disrupting the PCs before they could start unloading. I also had Seldra's attack dominate the TWO spellscarred PCs (a thief and a mage), who promptly attacked their fellows. Spawning minions (4 initially, then 2 a round after that) also helped.

It was really touch-and-go, with most of the party being down or really low in HP the whole fight. Per usual, the paladin redirected some damage to himself and dropped at least once. The bladesinger and the wizard both dropped from Seldra's burst damage, and became plaguechanged maniacs to attack the others. The bladesinger got majestic worded out of it, which let him shrug off Seldra's blue fire and become himself again, just in time to land some of the final blows.

MAN, did they get upset at Seldra, but surprisingly enough, they let her live at the end of the combat. The bard snapped her out of her shock at the enormity of her treachery and persuaded her to help them against the dragon.

Cheers
At the end of the combat, my warlord is the one left wearing the crown. We have 2 other PCs at the table who picked up the crown as well. In all, we have 3 PCs at the table who claim to be the heir.

My warlord, Lazenna ("Zen") has been very neutral and wishy-washy through the entire adventure. All season, she's played both sides, worn both badges, never took a stand. When asked if she's the heir, she's been very non-committal, preferring to point out that it's a tough job, and she doesn't even know if she wants to try to lay a claim to it. After all, Neverwinter seems to be doing pretty well without a true heir....

She put on the crown and immediately started barking orders to the other PCs. Taking command, showing leadership and direction for once. It's a complete switch for her (suspicious), but clearly, having *her* crown has given her purpose!

She already has one of the PCs on her side-- Lily, who I need to make a "Wanted" poster for because of all her misdeeds in this campaign.

Zen's reign will be short, but cruel indeed, my friends.

Beware, Neverwinter. Beware!
Another fun week at Brookhurst Hobbies!

DM William had a TPK & DM Rico was well on his way! Of course, I did not even come close at my table, but everyone did appear to have a good time!

This was the kind of setup that a DM Dreams of--my table struggled early, but in the end the Big Blast was the only attack that really cut into them. I have posted  Actual Play & Review .
We had two crowded tables this week.  One of our regular DMs has fallen off the face of the earth, another cancelled, and a replacement volunteered, got to look over the combat for 10 minutes, and did her best...

Returning to the site of the dragon battle was fun.  At my table (we had the volunteer DM), we had a couple of characters evacuate the square while the rest beat down the barrier.  Then we beat down Seldra - for her own good, of course (and the good of Neverwinter, right?).  She conjured up some fire elementals on the first round, and a couple more the second (actually the DM had just forgotten to add monsters because we were a large group, but she did it with a straight face, very convincing "and she uses a minor action to conjure more elementas...."), which convinced us to bring her down as fast as ever we could.  Which was fast - with two theives, a bladesinger and a warlord unloading combos on her.  The fire elementals weren't much of a threat, though one meleed the hunter (second time this season he's seen melee), but they took another round to clean up. 

The warlord - a neverwinter noble half-elf, coincidentally enough - picked up, but very definitely did not put on, the crown the moment Seldra dropped.  We declined to kill her, on the theory that the crown is cursed an messing with her head.  Hopefully, we're right.

 

 

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Whoops! I accidentally posted this yesterday in the wrong thread and just caught the mistake. Here's a reprint.
I couldn't run Wednesday because I had a hockey game to attend (go Coyotes!), but it seemed none of the Wednesday players showed up anyway. Last night, however, game went as usual. Hanging off the description from the past few sessions, I had Seldra spawn the maniacs at the start of her turn seemingly randomly and without intending to. I just tossed a couple pogs on the map and where they landed, there they were. One ended up attacking Jarvy and got beaten back by thrown fruit and the like. Thankfully, my players tend to announce when they're close to 0 HP, so it made it easy to time the domination burst. The first one took over the cleric, of all people, and the player had a great time going after the others before charging past the defender who quickly struck him down. The second blast dropped the defender and he started wailing on the others as well until Seldra dropped. Afterwards, they decided to spare Seldra. Now they just wait for the dragon...