Session 5 Field Report

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Field report for D&D Encounters: Web of the Spider Queen (Week 5) now available at Dungeon's Check out our D&D Encounters Archive for weekly write-ups, actual play podcasts and new pre-generated characters.

The fifth and final encounter of the chapter was just as dificult as those that came before it. No TPKs this week, but very challenging for the PCs.

Season 9 Reward Summary

If your players are like mine they don’t record their XP, gp or loot accurately (if at all). To remedy this I’ve created the D&D Encounters: Web of the Spider Queen – Chapter 1 Reward Summary that detail the XP, gp and magic items found during each encounter. On Wednesdays I’ll post an updated Reward Summary in our D&D Encounters Archive that will include the details for that week’s session. This way DMs can print the updated summaries for their players before each session and be ready to hand them out that night at their FLGS. If you have any feedback on these sheets please let me know and I will refine them.

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Holy cow! I had a technical TPK (I killed two of the PCs and the other three ran away). This was the first time that's ever happened for me. I don't like TPKs, especially in Encounters. So I usually adjust things on the fly to make sure it doesn't happen. But this one just went sideways very rapidly. This encounter was far more brutal than I thought it would be (I had a chance to play through it before I ran it). My party was still 1st level (I didn't allow them to level up even though they had enough XP since they hadn't had an extended rest yet). I checked in with my players before the encounter started to see how they were doing on surges. All but one of them said they were fine (typically they had 4 out of 6 surges remaining). I had one PC who was out of surges so, following a suggestion from Ameron on the Dungeon's Master website, I created a potion that restored two surges. He was very happy with that. I think the biggest thing wasn't the damage done directly by the drow, but all the ongoing damage from different sources. It didn't stack, but they had to save against each one, so they kept taking damage, and before I knew it, two were down and dying. That, combined with failed death saving throws did them in.
- Rico
We had a tight encounter, but not as tough as the previous 3.

I kept the NPCs with the party, because I want the PCs to have an opportunity to mess with them during the extended rest. The NPCs and one striker were off to the side when the rest of the party crowbarred open a secret door and released the drow. I added a group of bad guys to compensate for the NPCs.

I had a player change PCs this week, so I had him come in during the second round, from the center area, where an unknown secret room was (the drow had captured him and had him subdued prior to the ambush). He leapt out and was promptly locked down by the webs and such.

Meanwhile, the combat was being fought on three fronts, with the npcs repeatedly yelling "We've got these-- go help the others!"

In the end, two of them went down, but were saved. At least one is out of surges, and another is damned close. It's a good chapter when nearly everyone is limping to the extended rest, ready to kill the DM and anyone who might stand in their way of leveling up and restoring hit points. 
This week, literally every character was unconscious at some point. The encounter ended with a striker reviving a healer out of the sight if the remaining three enemies. By the time the enemies were aware of survivors, the defender was revived. I chose to have the remaining enemies flee after one was quickly killed. It was realistic and it prevented what would have been a TPK?

Cast of players and their characters for early group:-

  • Bryce Palmer, playing Human Mage

  • Glenn Waters, playing Eladrin Thief

  • Daniel Creedy, playing Goblin hexblade

  • Me, playing Kobold Scout and Dming

  • Adam Burgess, new player

  • Lee Burgess, new player 

Deeper tunnels feel almost like home, but sneaky drow used them to try and ambush us while their snooty mage taunts us behind bars. The lady knight and surface elf disappeared as the fight started, but luckily more heroes have been sent to help in our quest. Unfortunately one of them wont be going further with is, after he heroically squeezed through the bars and went toe-to-toe with the drow mage, only to be smashed into the wall by his spider-staff. 

The rest of us fought off the sneaky drow with their swords and pesky crossbows (they have green stuff on that makes you feel icky) but then the mage covered the floor with sticky web-stuff trying to trap us. The scary part was when one of the new arrivals smashed a drow to the floor the tricksy wizard sent magic smoke into it and a bony spider jumped out of its corpse, eugh!

Just before the last of the drow was taken down the mage strolled off laughing, safe on the other side of the bars. When we realised the fight was over we decided to take a rest and see if the lady knight and her elf catch back up with us. Good job too, Skrit really tired.

 Cast of players and their characters for later group:-

  • Robert Cleale, playing Human Knight

  • Chris Norris, playing Dwarf Knight

  • Tom Wright, playing Dwarf Sentinel

  • Simon Hunter, playing Human Mage

  • Phill Norman, playing Elf Thief

  • John Gray, playing Drow Hexblade

  • Matt Mawdsley, playing Dwarf Knight

The tunnels continue, descending via spiral staircase to lower chambers of clearly drow construction. The heroes examine a corridor with a partly fallen ceiling, discovering a draft coming from the exit of a hidden passage. They decide to spike it shut, and despite their efforts to be quiet they attract the attention of the occupants of several other hidden passageways who quickly appear and attack the party.

The mage hears the approach of more drow behind them on the staircase and cleverly blocks it with a curtain of flame as the remaining heroes move to intercept the drow as they appear. Kara and Tharinel (Elminster’s reinforcements) suddenly disappear, obviously needed elsewhere.

A drow mage beyond the portcullis trades magic and blows with the half-orc warlord, spirit wolf, and elf rogue, covering the area they’re standing in with asticky web-like substance. He tries to hide in a globe of darkness but the elf rogue activates a sunrod and then manages to throw it directly at his head! Dispelling the darkness and giving him a sharp headache in the process.

Meanwhile the human knight and drow hexblade take considerable damage from the drow in the northern corridor. Unfortunately it proves too much for the knight as he gets double-teamed by a pair of drow swordsman and dies before his allies can help him. In retaliation the mage uses his magic to force the drow back towards the sarcophagus they climbed out from and even manages to topple one back into the passageway below, hearing him land with a satisfying crunch of finality.

The heroes gradually gain the upperhand they drop the mage, as his body hits the floor it breaks open and thousands of tiny spiders scurry out, scattering into the darkened corridor beyond the portcullis. The remaining drow are easily dealt with and the heroes decide to rest in the now secured area and see if Elminsters allies return.


"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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